mmmmmmmm I could totally go for another one of these Sun-dried tomato pesto and mozzarella paninis. They were seriously that good. No, really. They were delicious. If you’ve been following this blog you know that I’ve been trying to learn to love tomatoes. Cooked in things has always been easier for me, but just a tomato on a sandwich has never done anything for me. This pregnancy is changing all of that. I am actually quite enjoying tomatoes right now. Wahoo for me!
I think the keys to this panini are a few things. First, good quality ciabatta bread. We bought ours at Harmons because we think they have the best.
Second is the mozzarella. Now, you know I am all about saving money, but I really truly do think there is such a huge difference in some things. Mozzarella is one of them. We prefer good quality mozz. For these sandwiches you are going to want to buy the fresh mozzarella from the gourmet cheese section. Seriously. Don’t try to use the cheap stuff. And guess what, it goes on sale. Ours was only $2.00. Just watch for it and buy it when it’s on sale. I’ll talk more about this and other ingredients I don’t skimp on later.
Third is the homemade pesto and roasted tomatoes. It makes everything so much more fresh and flavorful.
Ok, moving on to the recipe…
Is There Something You Can Substitute For Sun-dried Tomatoes?
For 1/2 cup chopped sun dried tomatoes, substitute either 1 1/2 cups drained canned tomatoes OR 4-6 fresh plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped.
These substitutions will be much thinner and more watery.
Can Pesto Be Frozen?
Pesto freezes well.
Freeze in ice cube trays, and then store frozen pesto cubes in plastic freezer bags in freezer for up to 6 months.
Or pesto can be frozen in jars.
What Is A Panini?
A panini is a toasted sandwich, usually made with Italian bread.
Sun-dried Tomato Pesto And Mozzarella Paninis
Sun-dried Tomato Pesto and Mozzarella Paninis
For the Sandwich
- 4 Vine or Roma Tomatoes sliced in half or into thick slices depending on the size of your tomatoes
- Fresh Mozzarella
- Ciabatta Bread
- Olive oil
- Kosher Salt
- Fresh Ground Black Pepper
- 1 Cup Oil packed sun-dried tomatoes
- 1 Cup fresh basil
- 2 Garlic cloves
- 1/4 Cup toasted pine nuts
- Olive Oil
- A dash of kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper or to taste
- 1/4-1/2 Cup Fresh Grated Parmesan Cheese
For the Tomatoes
- Place the tomatoes on an oiled baking sheet.
- Sprinkle evenly with salt, pepper and then drizzle with a little more olive oil.
- Bake in a 250 degree oven for 2 hours or until the tomatoes have wilted down.
For the Pesto
- Blend the tomatoes, basil, garlic, and pine nuts in a food processor until the mixture is beginning to smooth out.
- Drizzle in a little olive oil until you get to the desired texture. I used about 1/4 cup. Because you are using oil packed sun-dried tomatoes you may not need the extra oil. I only did because we were towards the end of the jar and I had already used too much of the oil.
- Add the cheese in and pulse twice.
- Set aside.
Building your Sandwich
- Slice open bread and spread a generous layer of pesto on each side.
- Place slices of fresh mozzarella next with roasted tomatoes on top.
- Cover with the other slice of bread and drizzle the top with olive oil.
- Place in a hot panini press or onto a grill.
- Close the lid and let them cook until the cheese is beginning to run out and you can see grill marks on top of the bread. If you are grilling them in a pan place a heavy plate or cast iron lid on top to smoosh down the sandwich.