Mozzarella, Tomato & Spinach Panini

I had my first panini in 2012 Labor Day weekend, Chicago.

In addition to that being the first time by husband, then boyfriend, and I shared “I Love Yous” it was also the first time I learned traveling without an itinary is not for Type A personalities such as myself. But more importantly…I discovered my love for the panini. And not just any panini but the veggie kind that sings praises to the sundried tomato and the stringy goodness of mozzarella.

I came home and worked on perfecting my own version of Heaven. This is now an awesome and quick lunch time go to. Paired well with a bowl of soup or salad if you desire.

Note: I am not a chef or even an aspiring food blogger. That means this recipe will be missing a lot of detailed measurements and precise directions. What it does provide you is creative license to tailor one of my favorite sandwiches to meet the special nuances of your personal tastebuds. Experiment away!

Ingredients

  • Wheat hoagie or another thick bread (I find regular sandwich loaf bread is too thin)
  • Mozzarella cheese (shredded melts faster)
  • Basil Pesto
  • Spinach
  • Sundried tomatoes

Directions

  1. Cut the hoagie in half and place one piece to the side for later.
  2. Take your chosen slice of bread and spread a nice even layer of pesto across it. Don’t be afraid to use the olive oil that comes in the jar. That plus the spices makes this sandwich awesome.
  3. Next sprinkle (liberally or sparingly) mozzarella over the pesto. If you are lactose intolerant substitute one of the new fake cheeses out there. My husband and I use them sometimes or do a 50/50 mix with real mozzarella to reduce our fat intake.
  4. Fresh spinach leaves – I put quite a bit to fit in a nice serving or two of greens.
  5. Optional: If you want a little more flavor to this sandwich you can also add in basil leaves.
  6. Add your sundried tomatoes. I like working with the julienne cut so it covers more area – I like to have a little piece of tomato in almost every bite.
  7. I place the other slice of bread on top and put the sandwich, in its entirety, on my panini maker and smash down for 1-2 minutes. Your panini is ready when you see that the mozzarella has melted to gooey deliciousness and is no longer stringy.
  8. If you don’t have a panini maker you can bake this sandwich in the oven or put it in a pan on the stove and smash down with your good ole fashioned spatula.
Cut in half and enjoy!

~Nicole Selena