Tomato, Mozzarella and Pesto Panini
Sandwiches can be fun, but sandwiches that are warmed (aka Panini) are fantastic! We love the Barefoot Contessa, at Home cookbook and this recipe, taken from this book, is an easy way to make a delicious vegetarian sandwich.
• 1 pound vine tomatoes or 2 Large ripe tomatoes or handful of smaller vine tomatoes
• 1 (16 oz.) ball of fresh mozzarella
• 12 slices bakery white bread, sliced ½ inch thick
• 1 cup arugula pesto
• Kosher Salt
• Unsalted butter at room temperature
Preheat a Panini grill (or grill pan or frying pan). Core the tomatoes and slice the tomatoes and mozzarella ¼ inch thick. If using smaller vine tomatoes slice them into three mini slices.
Place bread slices on work surface. Spread each slice evenly with pesto (recipe below). Place a layer of mozzarella (about 2 slices) on the half of bread and cover with layer of tomato. Sprinkle with salt. Place remaining slices of bread, pesto side down, on top. Spread the top and bottom of each sandwich with softened butter. Grill the sandwiches in batches for 2-3 minutes until the cheese oozes. If using a grill or frying pan try to weight the sandwich down with a plate. Cut in half and serve warm.
• 2 cups packed fresh arugula leaves
• 2 cloves garlic
• 1/4 cup pine nuts (I like them toasted first)
• 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
• Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
• 1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino (or Romano or parmesan) cheese
Combine the basil, garlic, and pine nuts in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add 1/2 cup of the oil and process until fully incorporated and smooth. Season with salt and pepper. If using immediately, add all the remaining oil and pulse until smooth. Transfer the pesto to a large serving bowl and mix in the cheese.