I love to serve this delicious, filling sandwich with a side of tomato-basil soup. Especially if you use jarred pesto and canned soup, this is a very fast, satisfying meal! Even my husband Michael, who is a meat-and-potatoes kind of guy, really enjoys this dish. The quality of each of your ingredients makes a difference with this simple meal, but even basic-quality ingredients will be delicious!
Mozzarella, Tomato and Pesto Panini
For 4-6 adult servings:
• 1 loaf French bread or ciabatta bread (don’t use regular sandwich bread; wheat French bread tastes great)
• ¼ to ½ cup pre-made pesto
• 5-6 slices mozzarella cheese
• 2-3 Roma tomatoes, sliced thinly
• Kosher salt and good pepper
• Olive oil
• 2 cans of tomato bisque or tomato-basil soup (chunky-style is more hearty and satisfying with this meal)
Heat a George Foreman grill to 425 degrees, or you can use a heavy skillet on medium-high heat. Cut the French bread in half lengthwise and brush olive oil lightly on each open side. On one side of the bread, spread the pesto sauce evenly. On the other side, place 5-6 slices of mozzarella down the length of the bread. Try not to let the cheese drape over the sides of the bread, since that makes things a little messier when you cook the sandwich. Top the mozzarella with the sliced Roma tomatoes, then sprinkle the tomatoes with salt and pepper. Re-assemble the two sides of the sandwich, and brush the top and bottom of the sandwich lightly with olive oil. Then, cut the loaf into four to six individual servings.
Place the sandwiches on the grill or skillet. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until nicely golden brown. If you are using a George Foreman grill or a good-sized panini press, you can probably grill two sandwiches at a time. If you are using a heavy skillet, place another heavy skillet or a hand-held press on top of the sandwich while cooking, and cook the sandwiches for 2-3 minutes per side.
Copyright 2014 Erin Franco