Cooking For a Young Family: Supreme Pizza Panini

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By Katie Goodman

My panini press is a very well used kitchen tool. It’s fast and convenient because it heats the sandwich from both sides and the pressing really helps you jam pack the sandwich with delicious ingredients. Some nights when time is rushed, almost anything pressed between two slices of bread can become a fabulous gourmet sandwich – even pizza toppings.

A pizza panini is a healthier way to satisfy your pizza cravings and usually well received with children, unless you’re like me and have one of the few children on earth who doesn’t enjoy eating their food by the slice. You’ll have the ability to control the quality and quantity of your ingredients. You want whole grain “crust?” Use whole grain rustic bread. In the end, you have complete control to create a healthier option than take out. It will probably take you less time as well. Next time you or your child are craving pizza, try out this panini instead.

Taking a familiar food, like pizza, and making it with a twist, in this case a sandwich, is a great way to introduce new foods to children and help them broaden their palate. Don’t be afraid to experiment either. You can always mix it up with different topping combinations to create panini versions of your favorite gourmet pizzas.

Supreme Pizza Panini
Serves 4

2 links Italian Sausage, sweet or hot – you pick
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 small red onion, sliced thin
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon fennel seed
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 pinch each of oregano and basil
1 1/4 cup mushrooms, sliced
1/2 each of red and green bell pepper, sliced
1/4 cup sliced olives
8 ounces mozzarella cheese, sliced
8-10 slices bread, depending on the size*
2 1/2 cups your favorite marinara sauce, for dipping

Remove the sausage from casings. Discard the casings. In a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil and then brown the Italian sausage while crumbling it with the back of a wooden spoon. When cooked through, add the red onion and sauté for 3 minutes. Add the garlic, fennel seed, salt, pepper, oregano, and basil to the sausage and onion mixture. Mix well and sauté 1 minute. Next, add the mushrooms and bell pepper and sauté for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the olives.

Preheat panini press. Place one slice of bread on a plate or cutting board to assemble the panini. Add 2-3 slices of cheese (depending on bread size) in a single layer. Add approximately a half a cup of the topping mixture followed by 2-3 more slices of cheese in a single layer.

Spray the preheated panini press with spray oil. Place the sandwich inside the press, lower the lid, and gently press. Cook until bread has reached your desired crispness and cheese is melted inside. About 3-5 minutes. Cut panini across into two triangles. Serve with a bowl of marinara for dipping.

*Bread should be something sturdy, not inexpensive sandwich bread. Rustic loaves sliced into sandwich thickness slices work well. Experiment with different flavors and textures such as: whole grain, roasted garlic, and sourdough.

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Reader Comments:

54321

Paula, I see alot of recipes that call for sausage, sweet or hot, that says take out of casing. I don't know what kind of sausage this is. Are you talking about kabasa sausage? Please let me know what this is for future use. Wondabeck@hotmail.com

By Anonymous on July 29, 2011

54321

I have to say an ex chef my self I just everything you do. I think what I like best is that you keep it real, thank you for the great recipes and beautiful set your home.

By Michel Pascal Cocca on July 29, 2011

I love the versatility of the panini.  Lean proteins, veggies galore and exotic spices and cheese.  I like that each person in the family can have a different version…served up nice and quick!

By marla {Family Fresh Cooking} on February 03, 2010

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hi! wink i was wondering if you could share the recipe for the chiken/grape salad-the one that is pictured on the croissant above? thanks! wink sandra
Sandra Neuheimer-Huller in Chicken Salad: A Southern Staple on April 19, 2014 at 9:37 am

Where do I buy these magazines
in A Basketful of Traditions on April 19, 2014 at 7:22 am

I WISH I COULD COOK. COULD I COME WORK FOR JUST ROOM AND BOARD AT YOUR NEW RESTURAUNT IN PIGEON FORGE FOR THE SUMMER? I WENT TO COLLEGE NOT FAR FROM THERE - HIWASSEE COLLEGE. YOU WOULDN'T HAVE TO PAY ME, I WOULD WORK FOR FREE JUST FOR THE EXPERIENCE. TAMMY LEVAN 19 SPENCER WAY KINGS PARK, NY 11754 HAPPY EASTER! CHRIST IS RISEN!
TAMMY L LEVAN in A Basketful of Traditions on April 19, 2014 at 3:31 am

Hi Bubbles, You have some great tips. Can't wait to read your other blogs! Please give Aunt Peggy a big hug from me and here is one for you! (((HUGS))) See you in May!
Jaci Pardun in 10 Quick Household Tips on April 18, 2014 at 10:05 pm

Paula, I am glad to know that I am not the only person who makes Easter Baskets for their adult children and mail them across the United States. My Daughter lives in Long Beach, CA and I not only sent her a basket but her husband and my granddaughter Reese. We also buy special Russel Stover Bunnies for each child too. My husband has the list in his phone... Sara .. Cookies 'n Crème.... Sidney and Stephen.. Peanut Butter Etc. It one of my favorite things to do for my kids.. no matter how old they get. And passing it along to my Grandchildren. It's even more special to me knowing we share a family tradition. Blessings and Happy Easter!!
Sharon Cason-Card in A Basketful of Traditions on April 18, 2014 at 10:03 pm