The Perfect Panini

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roastedveggiepanini I’m surprised I actually haven’t written a post about this recipe yet.  It’s one of our favorite dinners – acceptable to be put into “rotation” as Dario says.  And it’s been in rotation for quite a while.  I don’t even remember the first time I made it.  But needless to say, it stuck around long enough to become a favorite.  I think once you try out this recipe, it might even become a favorite in your house too.  Even “veggie-haters” like this pressed sandwich!  It’s just that good.

Now, to be honest, each time I’ve made this panini I’ve used slightly different ingredients.  It’s great for using up whatever you have in your fridge, so just about anything goes.  But I’ve found that I really like the combination of roasted eggplant, zucchini and roasted red peppers.  The eggplant gets really creamy from being roasted and the roasted red peppers add a nice smoky sweetness.  As for the zucchini… I just like zucchini and I generally always have it in the fridge.

The type of cheese is up to you too – this one has boursin cheese (first time I’ve used it) and it was pretty amazing.  Dario prefers no cheese (yea, I know…he’s weird) and the sandwich still tastes pretty good.  But I have used goat cheese, mozzarella and provolone, so it’s really whatever you’re in the mood for.  I also like putting a “sauce” on this panini for an extra flavor kick.  And again, this changes each time too – but I’ve used hummus, basil pesto, olive tapenade, etc.  It adds a nice hit of flavor and a little moisture too.

Panini_Ingredients

Here’s the basic recipe.  Feel free to experiment with you favorite veggies and flavors!

Roasted Vegetable Panini:  (Serves 4)

Ingredients:

  • 8 pieces of good Italian bread
  • 1/2 cup olive tapenade (hummus or basil pesto)
  • 4-8 pieces thinly sliced mozzarella (1-2 pieces per sandwich)
  • 1 medium eggplant, sliced into 1/2″ circular pieces
  • 1 large or 2 medium zucchini, sliced length-wise into 1/4″ in pieces
  • 2 whole roasted red peppers – cut in half to make 4 slices total
  • Extra virgin olive for brushing
  • 1 tsp salt and pepper

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 F.
  2. Place sliced eggplant and zucchini on baking sheets.  Brush lightly with olive oil on both sides.  Sprinkle one side with salt and pepper evenly.  Roast for about 1 hour or until veggies have gotten soft and most of the moisture has evaporated.
  3. To assemble the sandwiches, line up 4 slices of the bread.  Spread about 2 tbsp of olive tapenade on each half.  Top with a few slices of eggplant, zucchini and roasted red peppers.  Top the veggies with a few slices of the cheese followed by the top slice of bread.  Press down slightly.  Make all 4 sandwiches.
  4. Heat up your panini press if you have one, or just a sauté pan over medium high heat.  Spray with non stick cooking spray or olive oil and cook the sandwich until each side is golden brown and the cheese is melted – about 3 minutes per side of a total of 5 -7 minutes in the panini press.  If you’re using a sauté pan, I suggest putting another pan on top of the sandwich with a heavy can on top.  It helps press the panini into a nice melted unit.
  5. Serve warm with baked potato chips or a nice fruit salad, like my winter citrus salad!  Here’s the recipe!

I hope you enjoy this sandwich!  If you tried them or made a similar recipe, what veggies did you use?  Have any good ideas for different sauces to put on them?  How about any good side dishes for this?  Let me know any of your suggestions – I’d love to hear them!

2 Comments

  1. Kiersten @ Oh My Veggies

    January 23, 2013 at 2:53 pm

    i LOVE olive tapenade on a panini! I’m not a fan of mayo, so I’m always looking for alternative spreads & that’s one of my favorites. This sounds so tasty!

    • mewinebrenner

      January 23, 2013 at 3:35 pm

      Yea I’m not a huge mayo fan either, but slather me on some tapenade or hummus and I’m good to go! I need to start making my own tapenade…got a recipe?

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