Keeping it simple and tasty with panini


January 31, 2007|By Joe Gray | Joe Gray,Chicago Tribune

Panini, those perfectly grilled Italian sandwiches, make a great simple supper for dreary winter nights.

The quality of bread and filling ingredients are key, point out Jennifer and Jason Denton in Simple Italian Sandwiches, written with Kathryn Kellinger. The Dentons, owners of a popular panini bar in New York called 'ino, provide a primer on creating your own.

We started with mortadella. To that we added cheese and perked it all up with a simple roasted pepper spread.

Joe Gray writes for the Chicago Tribune, which provided the recipe analysis.

Mortadella, Provolone and Roasted Pepper Panini

Serves 4 -- Total time: 27 minutes

1 jar (7 ounces) roasted red peppers, rinsed and drained

1 clove garlic, minced

freshly ground pepper

8 slices rustic Italian bread, 1/2 -inch thick

8 medium slices mortadella, about 8 ounces

4 slices aged provolone

1 bunch baby arugula

1 tablespoon olive oil, if needed

Place peppers, garlic and pepper to taste in the bowl of a food processor; pulse just until ingredients become a rough paste. Set aside.

Place 4 bread slices on counter; divide mortadella slices among them. Layer with provolone and the roasted red-pepper spread; top with arugula. Place top slice on sandwiches, pressing down gently; set aside.

Heat panini pan, grill pan or cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat until hot. (If using a skillet, brush tops and bottoms of sandwiches with a little olive oil.) Place 2 sandwiches at a time in pan; top with panini pan top or a heavy skillet or a foil-wrapped brick. Cook until golden and cheese melts, about 3 to 6 minutes per side. Repeat with remaining panini.

Per serving: 477 calories, 31 grams fat, 13 grams saturated fat, 61 milligrams cholesterol, 24 grams carbohydrate, 25 grams protein, 1,478 milligrams sodium, 2 grams fiber


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