Sunday, June 24, 2012

Sun-dried Tomato Pesto and Cheese Panini

Hello everyone,

Here is the first recipe I promised you on Father's Day. Recently, my sister and I went to Panera Bread. She had a tomato and cheese panini while I got a pecan roll... Umm yeah, I gave my mom the pecan roll and ate half of my sister's panini. And then I just could not stop craving more so I had to create my own recipe for it. I think I can safely say that these paninis come pretty darn close to the one I had at Panera Bread.

Sun-dried Tomato Pesto and Cheese Panini
Makes 15-20 panini halves

2/3 cup drained oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
1 1/2 tablespoons of oil from the tomato jar
1/3 cup black olives, pitted and coarsely chopped 
2 tablespoons pine nuts
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 teaspoons salt
garlic salt and garlic powder for flavoring
1 loaf of thinly sliced sourdough bread
1 pound fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/4-inch slices OR 3-4 cups grated mozzarella
2 fresh, sliced tomatoes (optional)
Extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing 

Process the sun-dried tomatoes, oil, black olives, pine nuts, garlic, basil, oregano, pepper, salt, and seasoning in a food processor until the ingredients have turned into a paste with a slightly chunky texture.

Spread a tablespoon of the mixture on each slice of sourdough bread and top one slice with around 3-4 tablespoons of grated cheese or one slice of cheese. I also put a little Parmesan cheese on the other slice of bread to suit my personal taste. Feel free to add or subtract from this recipe to suit your own tastes. Place two or three slices of tomato on to the cheese. Press the other slice of bread to complete the panini and brush olive oil on the top.

Grill the panini on both sides until lightly browned. You can also use a panini maker or a sandwich maker with a grill option like I did for the same effect. Slice the panini diagonally across the grilled lines and serve immediately.


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