When did the Panini become so popular? It seems every restaurant you go to, and every frozen food section in the grocery store sells a sandwich otherwise known as a Panini. I really love these sandwiches, and the recipes and combinations are endless. The word Panini actually is Italian, meaning “Small Bread Roll”. A Panini sandwich is made when you cook ingredients such as meats and cheeses between two slices of bread, and they are cooked with a press, which leaves grill marks on the front and back slices of bread.
Of course, making an authentic looking Panini is so much easier if you have a Panini Maker. When my daughter requested a Panini maker for her birthday, we looked around a fair amount before buying one at our local Target store. The Giada De Laurentiis GPM-300 Panini Maker was on sale for only $49.99, marked down ten dollars from the original price.
Target had other Panini Makers from which to choose, but the Giada seemed the most durable, heavy duty, and well made machine so it got our vote. This machine reminds me of one my mother used during my childhood years. Ours was square and had waffle iron plates on one side, and flat plates on the other, which we used to make grilled cheese sandwiches. The Giada De Laurentiis GPM-300 Panini Maker is similar, but the plates do not flip, the top and the bottom both have vertical lines which create those tell tale “grill” markings.
The Giada De Laurentiis GPM-300 Panini Maker has several parts. The cover is made of a handsome brushed stainless steel with an embossed logo on the front. The on/off switch features low, high and off. You can easily change temperatures by sliding the switch one way or the other. The base is very heavy duty and sturdy, and this machine remains in place!
There is a Panini-Style Handle that actually adjusts to accommodate the different thicknesses of your Panini sandwiches. The grill plates are have a nice non-stick surface, and seem to heat evenly so the sandwiches cook evenly as well. The machine has two indicator lights, a red light and a green light (which signals that your power is on and you are ready to start making your Panini’s).
Last, the Giada De Laurentiis GPM-300 Panini Maker comes with a black plastic scraping tool. It has wide teeth, and resembles a large fork. The teeth fit perfectly into the dips on the grill plates, allowing you to remove any food or residue from the machine.
To use this Giada De Laurentiis GPM-300 Panini Maker, you plug it in and turn it on, choosing the temperature you desire to cook on. Note that the high temperature is the norm for cooking, and the low is the norm for reheating Panini’s. Place your sandwich into the machine, press down on the lid, and apply as much pressure as you think necessary to cook the sandwich. After cooking, let it cool for a half an hour before attempting to clean the machine, as it will be very hot.
The Giada De Laurentiis GPM-300 Panini Maker seems a little over glorified to me. I feel that the taste of the finished product isn’t much different from a sandwich toasted in a frying pan. The Panini Maker cooks the sandwich much faster, since it is grilling and cooking from both the top and the bottom, whereas cooking in a fry pan means flipping the sandwich over so you can brown both sides. The grill lines that the Giada De Laurentiis GPM-300 Panini Maker add a nice touch, making this a good tool to use when preparing sandwiches for guests.
This does take up quite a large footprint, and is not a small appliance that I would want in my kitchen, but my daughter seems to love it, and since this was a birthday gift, that was the main objective.
The machine comes with a one year limited warranty.