•Schar Ciabatta Rolls (affiliate link)
•Thin-sliced chicken cutlets or grilled chicken
(We use Bell and Evans thin-sliced chicken breasts. See recipe for chicken cutlets and grilled chicken below.)
•Pesto (See recipe below.)
I don’t have a panini press so I use a frying pan. Coat a frying pan with olive oil. Set stove on a medium to high heat. Brush the bottom half of the roll with olive oil and place in the pan. Stack one chicken cutlet or one piece of grilled chicken, a slice of fresh mozzarella and a slice of tomato. One of my kids and I do not eat chicken so we just omit the chicken. Spread the pesto on the inside top half of the roll and place it on top of the tomato. Using a smaller lid from a pot, press the panini down using some pressure for a couple of minutes. Brush the top half of the sandwich with olive oil. Using a spatula, flip your sandwich. Once again use the top of the pot to press the other side of the panini down for a couple of minutes. Remove from the frying pan and enjoy!
Set up two bowls. (I do not coat the chicken with flour first for my chicken cutlets.) Crack an egg in the first bowl. In the second bowl add Italian breadcrumbs. We use Aleia’s Italian Breadcrumbs (affiliate link). Dip the thin-sliced chicken breasts in the egg and then in the breadcrumbs coating both sides. In a frying pan, heat olive oil and a little butter. Fry each side of the chicken until lightly browned and cooked thoroughly.
Lightly season thin-sliced chicken breast with salt and pepper. You can grill the chicken on a BBQ or if making it in a frying pan, heat olive oil in the frying pan and grill each side of the chicken until cooked thoroughly.
I often make my pesto pasta recipe and set some pesto aside for making the paninis the next day or so. The pesto stays well in a sealed container in the refrigerator. Even if it has hardened a bit in the refrigerator, take a spoon and spread it on. It will soften when grilling the panini.
• 2 cloves garlic
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 2 cups basil leaves (I sometimes add more.)
• 2 tablespoons of chopped pine nuts
• ½ cup olive oil
• ½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
• 2 tablespoons freshly grated romano cheese
• 4 tablespoons butter (softened)
In a food processor, add garlic, oil, salt, basil, pinenuts and olive oil. Blend until smooth. You may need to scrape down the sides once or twice. Add the cheeses and butter and blend briefly to incorporate the ingredients. If preparing for pasta, please see my pasta pesto recipe.
Notes: As mentioned, the pesto can be stored in an airtight container. The chicken can be made ahead. The tomato and mozzarella can be sliced ahead as well. Everything can be stored in the refrigerator in sealed containers for when you are ready to make your paninis.