Panini Press

You may ask why you want to buy another kitchen gadget such as this grill. That is exactly what I asked when my sister brought home the VillaWare UNO Panini press. Then she made the Panini sandwiches and I got hooked. These grills are not just sandwich grills you can also grill steaks, sea food, and chicken, not to mention how deliciously they grill vegetables. They even cook fish and chicken crusted with breadcrumbs, so you can have fried chicken without the fat. I think they are awesome.

The panini grill sometimes called Panini press is really a simple machine. It has a top and a bottom plate. Those surfaces are usually ribbed and are what gives those fancy sandwiches in fancy restaurants their stripes The top plate usually has a handle that you press. It has a heating unit. You plug it into a power outlet and let it heat up and you can start grilling,

VillaWare UNO Panini Grill ProPress model

The VillaWare UNO Panini grill ProPress model is what we have. We have had it for a couple of years now and it has served us well. It is a beautifully designed grill. It is simple but extremely functional. It also looks great. You can leave it on your kitchen counter and it will not ruin the ambiance. In fact  ours stay on the counter a lot because we use quite often. Especially during those times when we are pressed for time or are too tired to cook something elaborate we just heat up the grill and have something decent on the table quickly. It is large enough to grill four medium sized paninis and four good size stakes. But you can also store it away easily without it taking up too much space by standing it vertically instead of laying it flat.

Specific Features of VillaWare UNO Panini Grill

  • It has an 11 inch by 9inch cooking surface. This is large compared to other grills of comparable size and price and is perfect for a family of four such as ours.
  • The cooking surface is of cast aluminum. is non-stick and is ribbed with a spout at one end. It is designed in a way that excess fat drains off to the spout and into a separate tray. You need to place this tray right under the spout whenever you are cooking fatty food. This feature is unique to this grill. I don’t think there is any other machine that does it quite as well..
  • The top is very easy to handle. It opens all the way out. It adjusts to any thickness and is also ribbed with a non-stick surface. It is what is called a floating top.
  • The handle is attractively designed is very sturdy.
  • It has a green and red light. When you plug in the machine the red light comes on to show that the power is on. About 7 minutes later the green light comes on to let you know that it is hot enough. It has an adjustable temperature control. You can adjust the heat according to your needs.
  • The outside surface of the VillaWare Panini press is attractively designed and is made of high polish aluminum.

Grilling Vegetanles on a Panini Press

Cleaning the Panini Press

Cleaning the machine is easy as long as you clean up before the machine gets cold. But make sure it is unplugged. You are provided with a comb for cleaning between the ridges. I find that most of the time for grilling sandwiches and vegetables little cleaning is necessary because only a little bit of cheese here and there may be sticking to the plates. A quick wipe off with a damp towel might do the job. But if you cook meat I recommend using hot soapy water over the bottom plate to get the grease and dried up meat out of the ridges.


The VillaWare panini grill cost us about $80 and is worth every penny. Panini grills in general go for anywhere from a low $27 to as high as $250. The expensive ones such as George Foremans and the cuisinart griddier have additional features such as making waffles, three temperature controls, and removable plates for dish washers etc. It all depends on your needs.

For some panini sandwich recipes go to Panini sandwiches: How to Make Some Delicious Ones Quick, and Easily. 

For recipes and techniques on how to grill fish and chicken on a panini grill click on How to Grill Fish and Chicken on a Panini Grill.

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