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Throw a Panini Party

Posted by Melissa Schmalenberger on March 10, 2011 in Family, Food, life, Moms |

Does the word panini give you the shakes?  Are you afraid you don’t have the skill to make such a fancy sandwich?  No fear because if you can make a grilled cheese sandwich you can make a panini.  Here is what my friend Wikipedia defines a panini as: 

“In Italy, a panino (Italian pronunciation: [paˈniːno]) is customarily made from a small roll or loaf of bread, typically a ciabatta or a rosetta. The loaf is cut horizontally and filled with salami, ham, cheese, mortadella or other food, and sometimes served hot after having been pressed in a grill. A toasted panino, colloquially called “toast” by Italians, is made out of two vertical slices of pane in cassetta almost invariably filled with prosciutto and a few slices of cheese, grilled in a sandwich press. In Central Italy, there is a popular version of panino which is filled with porchetta, i.e. slices of roasted pork. It is traditionally served without any kind of sauce or topping. Some maintain they are the same as ‘toasties’ but with a different shape.

In the USA and Canada, many often confuse the term “panini” as only referring to pressed sandwiches. This may be due to the widespread availability and use of sandwich presses, often known as or called a “Panini Press.” ”

I was first introduced to paninis when my husband and I were in college and traveled to Europe for a month and spent 2 weeks in Italy.  When we would ride the train people would come on and sell these sandwiches….more often than not they were old and stale and full of mold.  We called these “Moldy Paninis”, so clever aren’t we?  If you make these sandwiches at home, they wont be moldy and chances are they wont be stale.

When we made the paninis for supper the other night, we loaded all sorts of toppings on a platter so everyone could pick the ones that they want.  The picture above does not show all of the toppings as I put fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, basil and prosciutto in mine.  We had a party of 5 with our paninis but I think you could easily have a group of friends over and everyone can make their own creation.  This makes the meat lovers and the vegetarians in your group all happy.  Plus it is fun to have your friends make something and they will be talking about their creations after they left the party

The cookbook that I got the main idea for the panini is “Rocco’s 5 Minute Flavor” as I continue my trend this week of fast family meals.  He has a whole section on different panini recipes to help get you inspired. For each of the meals he even gives an estimated price for each meal.  For example, for the panini the estimated cost is $14.50, not bad for a family of 4.

The Ruling:  Everyone loved their own panini.  I had the traditional one listed below as well as my oldest son. He sprinkled his with balsamic vinegar to give it a little extra kick at the end.  The middle child and youngest child had simple ham and cheese.  Tip, if you do not have a panini press (I have a George Foreman grill that I use) you can simply wrap a brick in tin foil and put it on top of your sandwich…..quick and cheap!  Try these with your family and better yet, call your friends and have a panini party!

Prosciutto, Mozzarella, and Tomato Panini, page 109

Ingredients:

  • 4 large slices Italian bread, split in half
  • 12 ounces fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
  • 6 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto
  • 2 ripe tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Directions:

  1. Preheat a panini press. or heat a large nonstick frying pan over medium heat for several minutes
  2. Lay the bread on a work surface and layer the mozzarella, prosciutto, tomatoes, and basil on each slice. Season well with salt and pepper and drizzle with the olive oil. Close the sandwiches
  3. Place the sandwiches in the panini press or frying pan. If using a frying pan, weight the sandwiches by placing a cake pan (smaller than the diameter of your frying pan) over them and placing a heavy can of similar weight in the cake pan; turn the sandwiches with a spatula midway through the cooking time, replacing the cake pan and weight. Cook until the cheese is melted, about 5 minutes total. Cut in half and serve.

To Joyful, Simplified Living,

MS. Simplicity

MS. Simplicity, also known as Melissa Schmalenberger  operates her business as I Did it with MS. Simplicity.  She is a Professional Organizer based out of Fargo, ND and her website can be found at www.ididit-fargo.com .  Need to contact MS. Simplicity privately, you can email her at melissa@ididit-fargo.com.  For daily organizing tips find the MS. Simplicity fan page  here.

If you try any of my suggestions, I would love to hear from you.  It helps me to understand what my readers want me to write about and what they think is a waste of their time….thanks for taking the time to help me out.

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