Ingredients 8 slices rye bread 4 quarter-inch slices of fresh mozzarella 3 plum tomatoes, cut into thick slices 1 cup fresh basil pesto, recipe follows (or use the store-bought stuff) Freshly ground black pepper Extra-virgin olive oil
Basil pesto: 1/2 cup pine nuts 2 cups fresh basil leaves 1 cup fresh Italian parsley leaves 1/2 cup Parmesan or Romano 2 garlic cloves 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1. Toast pine nuts in a skillet over medium heat until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Combine pesto ingredients in a food processor and pulse until well combined but still rough-textured.
2. If you have a panini press, turn it on to warm up; otherwise, set a skillet over medium heat.
3. Assemble sandwich by smearing insides of bread slices with pesto. Arrange a layer of sliced tomato and season with a few turns of fresh pepper. Layer the mozzarella slices over the top and then place another piece of bread on top to make the sandwich.
4. Drizzle olive oil over skillet's surface and place sandwiches on the hot skillet or panini press. If using a skillet, place another heavy skillet over the top to form a "press". Turn after 2 to 3 minutes and replace weight. The sandwich is ready when golden brown and mozzarella has melted around the edges.
Verdict: Oh for pity's sake, just look at the darn thing, would ya? What do you think I'm going to say about it?! It was cheesy, melty, flavorful, rich, crispy, PURRRRRRRRFECT. I want to have it every day for the rest of my life. Maybe not a war, but I'm sure mini-battles can be fought over this concoction. It's devious in its simplicity. It's one of those foods that you will have cravings for in the middle of the night.
And I believe this colorful dish will also qualify for this month's Food In Color event, originated by Sunshinemom from Tongue Ticklers, and hosted by Neha from Easy N Tasty Recipes. This time, the theme is "Red + Green", and there's definitely lots of that in this recipe!