Confession: I don’t have any Italian in me.
The Hubby is German.
Which is no way stopped me from naming this sandwich The Ultimate Italian Panini. I’ve got it from a good source it totally fits the bill and by good source, I mean me. I promise to be impartial (cough, cough).
This is quite simply yet another submission in my summer quest for Sandwich Porn.
It’s possible this bohemian badass just may take the cake though. In fact, it’s so damn good, I should declare myself the winner, tap out now and retire with my crown still intact.
Then again, I do like my summer sandwiches, especially when all I have to do is fire up the Panini maker. Translation: plug it in. High tech thingamabobs are my specialty.
So are sandwiches, partially because they give me an easy excuse to ingest more grains. The Breadsmith, being mere miles away, doesn’t hurt either. There are days I can and have lived off their transcendental loaves of love. Take their Tuscan Herb bread for example; it’s like manna from heaven. Chock full of Italian herbs, it’s magic all on its own and equally as tantalizing when used in a sandwich, like this one.
Bread aside, let’s talk about the ingredients inside this Italian Panini. To start, there’s only a handful, which I love. They also complement one another so wonderfully you think they’ve been together forever.
We have a dollop of pesto as our base, store bought or homemade; it makes no difference, although since I’ve made pesto the last three out of four weekends, you can bet that’s the route I’m going. My basil plants are busting out right now. Remember what I said about your chives. Well, the same is true of basil and most herbs really. Essentially, if you eat them, they will prosper.
Aside from the most fantastic pesto, these sandwiches contain a healthy dose of mozzarella cheese, roasted red bell peppers, quartered artichoke hearts and sweet red onions. Also known as everything your veggie loving soul could desire between two slices of herby baked bread. Roasting the red peppers takes this sandwich to the next level, and it even made the Hubby utter curse words of delight. The man doesn’t even like artichokes; yet he went back for seconds of this.
In my not so humble opinion, this Ultimate Italian Panini is epic.
It’s also damn good for you too. Artichokes are pretty much a super food in their own right. In fact, I’m just waiting for science to catch up with my hypothesis. They’re packed with antioxidants, vitamin C and potassium. They’re great for aiding in digestion, boosting immunity, and they’re fraught with fiber, and we all know fiber is our friend. The rest of the ingredients garner a good does of healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, calcium and protein, because protein bro.
Be still my souped up, pimped out veggie loving heart.
- 2 slices good quality bread, I used Tuscan Herb
- 1/2 Roasted Red Bell Pepper*
- 1 Tbsp. Pesto
- Mozzarella, several slices, enough to cover the bread.
- 5 quartered Artichokes, drained.**
- 1/4 of a Red Onion, sliced in rings.
- Olive Oil or shortening agent of your choice.
- Turn on your Panini maker.***
- Spread pesto on one slice of bread. Top with mozzarella cheese slices, roasted red pepper slices, quartered artichokes, and sliced red onion. Finish with the other piece of bread. Spread a touch of olive oil onto the bottom of Panini maker and also the top slice of bread.
- Place sandwich on Panini maker, with the unoiled slice of bread on the bottom. Close lid and let grill for five minutes, until the sandwich is golden brown on the outside and warm on the inside.
- Remove from Panini maker and let sit for two minutes, allowing the cheese to firm up slightly.
- *You can buy roasted red bell peppers or make your own. I made my own a day ahead of time, using this recipe: http://www.marinmamacooks.com/2013/09/how-to-roast-red-peppers/
- **I like using the artichokes marinated in olive oil, although the ones marinated in water work too.
- **If you don't have a Panini maker, you can make this on a skillet on your stovetop, no problem. Be sure to oil both outside slices of bread and flip the sandwich halfway through cooking. Cook on both sides until golden brown on the outside and warm on the inside.
What’s your favorite summer sandwich combination? Do you have a special source for your bread?