By Joe Gray
Panini, those perfectly grilled Italian sandwiches, make a great simple supper. And you don't need a panini press to make them.
The quality of bread and filling ingredients are key, point out Jennifer and Jason Denton in "Simple Italian Sandwiches," written with Kathryn Kellinger.
We started with mortadella, which originally hails from Bologna, namesake of the lesser American version, baloney. To that we added cheese and punched it all up with a simple roasted pepper spread.
Mortadella, provolone and roasted pepper panini
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 12 minutes
1 jar (7 ounces) roasted red peppers, rinsed, 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
1. Place peppers, garlic and pepper to taste in the bowl of a food processor; pulse just until it becomes a rough paste. Set aside.
2. 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.
3. 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 3-6 minutes per side. Repeat with remaining panini.
Per serving: 477 calories, 58 percent of calories from fat, 31 g fat, 13 g saturated fat, 61 mg cholesterol, 24 g carbohydrates, 25 g protein, 1,478 mg sodium, 2 g fiber.
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