A chicken, provolone and prosciutto panini recipe. Learn how to make a panini sandwich without a panini press. Discover super ideas for panini fillings, toppings and the perfect bread for panini! Make this today.
While traveling in Italy, we came across some of the best food I have ever eaten. Besides the amazing cheese and charcuterie selections, we were blessed with some beautiful Italian sandwiches called paninis.
While enjoying my Italian lunch on the patio, I witnessed an exuberant fan exclaim, “Molto Bene! How do you do it?” Stefano was beaming and leaned over to reveal his secret ingredient.
“Rosemary and olive oil”, he whispered, looking around suspiciously. He told anybody who asked but as long as he whispers it, I guess it’s a secret.
If you are planning a trip to La Cinque Terra, consider staying in Corniglia. It is the least over-run-by-tourists of the five towns. This is probably due to the fact that it is high on the hill overlooking the Mediterranean. You can either walk up the hill from the train or wait for the bus to take you up.
Christiana Ricci is Stefano’s lovely wife and she rents small flats to visitors. You can find her rentals on AirBNB or VRBO.
Tips for making great panini sandwiches
- Lots of rosemary and olive oil is key. It’s amazing how herb infused oil can transform a sandwich. You can also use other herbs or blends such as za’atar, oregano or thyme.
- Ciabatta or focaccia is the best bread for this type of sandwich, it holds up well to the harassment of the panini press.
- Use the best quality ingredients. I’ve heard this so many times it’s almost cliche but it is absolutely true.
- If you are going to use vegetables for a vegetarian version, roast the vegetables first to bring out their flavor and to release some moisture. This will help prevent your panini from getting soggy.
- Get creative with your sauces and fillings. I bet pesto or mustard would be great.
Ideas on how to make a panini without a panini press
The main idea is to press the sandwich and make it more dense. Without a panini press, you would weigh it down while cooking on one side and then flip the sandwich over and press again.
Items you can use to press your panini:
- heavy skillet like cast iron
- a plate and then something heavy on top like a tea kettle with water in it
- a small but heavy casserole dish
- a brick wrapped in aluminum foil
Below are some ideas for simple Italian panini as well as gourmet panini.
- Turkey and swiss
- Tomato, mozzarella and basil – also known as a Caprese
- Roast beef and swiss
- Ham and cheddar
- Corn beef, sauerkraut, swiss, Russian dressing – also known as a Reuben
- Steak, swiss and onions
- Bacon and smoked gouda
- Brie and apples
- Salami and provolone
- Roasted red peppers and gruyere
- Olive oil and rosemary or Za’atar
- Serbian relish
- Curry Fry Sauce
- Chimichurri Rojo
Great sides to serve with panini
Get creative with your panini creations and leave a comment below sharing how you made yours.
Also, very important, go explore the World around you.
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All the best, Ciao!