Panini Sandwich with Creamy Pesto Sauce. A Panini Sandwich Recipe is loaded with all sorts of goodies, but the crowning jewel is the fresh creamy pesto.
A friend once told me she found it hard to make a good panini sandwich. She explained that the inside sometimes came out soggy, or that by the time she had pressed the sandwich long enough to warm through the center, the outside was too dark.
This puzzled me, because a good panini press is meant to make life a little easier in the kitchen. After further discussion, we discovered that she was using cold, wet ingredients (like tomatoes and olives straight out of the tub) and had set the temperature on the grill too high. After a little adjustment, she now uses her panini press all the time for sandwiches, as well as fish and grilled veggies.
It’s amazing how one conversation, or piece of new information, can change your perspective.
BigKitchen.com recently sent me a wonderful Calphalon Removable Plates Grill. Prior to this, my only hangup with panini presses and electric grills was how tricky they were to clean up. This one has certainly changed my perspective.
This Calphalon indoor grill is a cinch to clean. Both grill plates simply pop off and can even be placed in the dishwasher, along with the drawer in the back that catches grease and crumbs.
The top portion of the press is hinged to allow height adjustment for even cooking. That means you can place tall sandwiches, or thick-cut steaks in it without any difficulty. Also the preheat function is exceptionally fast. By the time you assemble your panini sandwich recipe, the grill is ready to go.
Today I’m serving a Panini Sandwich with Creamy Pesto Sauce. This pesto is a little different from the standard variety because it calls for less oil and is blended with cream cheese. The cream cheese provides a light silky quality and accentuates the basil, walnut and lemon. It’s easier to spread than regular pesto and makes a wonderful melty addition to any panini sandwich recipe.
How to make a Panini:
- Preheat the grill
- Butter the bread
- Load with dry, room-temperature ingredients
- Press to toast
That’s really all there is to it. I loaded these with black forest ham, genoa salami, artichoke hearts, sprouts and a good shmeer of creamy pesto. Heavenly!
Creamy Pesto Panini Sandwich Recipe
Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time:15 minutes
Cook Time:5 minutes
For the Creamy Pesto:
- 2 cups basil, packed
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 4 ounces cream cheese
For the Panini Sandwich Recipe:
- 8 slices sour dough bread
- softened butter
- 16 slices black forest ham
- 16 slices genoa salami
- 1 can artichoke hearts, drained and pulled apart
- 1 cup alfalfa sprouts
- Preheat a panini press to 300 degrees F. Add the ingredients for the creamy pesto to a food processor. Puree until smooth.
- Butter 8 slices of bread, then flip them over and spread the creamy pesto on the opposite side. Place 4 slices, butter side down, on the panini press. Layer each with 2 slices ham, a small handful of artichokes leaves, 2 slices salami and the other slice of bread. Close the panini press and grill for 3-5 minutes.
- Then remove the sandwiches, open them up and add a handful of alfalfa sprouts. Press them closed again, cut and serve warm.
Making this recipe? Why not take a quick shot and share it on Instagram! Make sure to tag it #ASpicyPerspective so we can see what you're cooking!