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Getting Creative with Panini

Everybody loves a good sandwich to take care of a growling stomach. This is especially true when one does not have enough time to sit down for an elaborate meal. With a properly made sandwich, one can go without eating for hours.

There is this special kind of sandwich that hails from Italy, which you probably have already fallen in love with: panini. The term panini is actually the plural form of the Italian word panino, which is the equivalent of the English term small bread roll, although it is used to refer to sandwiches in general. In short, panini are simply sandwiches. But those who have tried panini know just how awesome these sandwiches can be!

Panini

Panini

As the story goes, the original panini can be described as a stripped down version of the panini we know today. Back in the day, panini would contain only one filling, which was usually cured meat of some kind. Moreover, panini back then was usually not grilled. I guess we can think of it as making a quick sandwich with some bread and a slice of ham. The major distinction is in the choice of bread, which is usually focaccia.

As with many things, panini have evolved over the years, and especially since the sandwiches were introduced to the United States and other parts of the world. From a single filling, we now see panini with all sorts of cold cuts, cheese, and vegetables. One thing remains unchanged, however. Panini is only really good if you use the best bread that you can find. In addition to your choice of bread, you also ought to make sure that the flavors of the fillings that you use blend well together. Whether you choose focaccia, ciabatta, or rosetta, the secret is in ensuring that all the elements of your sandwich go well with each other.

Let’s take a look at some interesting panini recipes, shall we?

Panini for meat lovers

Southwestern Chicken Panini

Southwestern Chicken Panini

Being the meat lover that I am, I usually prefer panini that packs a lot of protein – the kind that you find in meat. Of course, one can’t always have as much red meat as one would prefer, but here is a great recipe for Southwestern Chicken Panini that will always hit the spot. It’s not your ordinary chicken sandwich, but the marriage of flavors is just perfect!

If you are not really into Southwestern flavors, this Chicken Cordon Blue Panini recipe might do the trick for you. The lovely thing about this recipe is that you can pick your blue cheese, depending on how strong you want it to be. Whatever you choose, the result is a hearty sandwich!

Now for the ultimate meat panini, nothing else will do but this Meatball Sub Panini or this Grilled Beef and Onion Panini.

Panini for vegetable lovers

Grilled Eggplant Panini

Grilled Eggplant Panini

I have always liked eggplant, and I think that it might just be one of the most underrated vegetables out there. It is so versatile that you can do so much with it, and of course, putting it in between two slices of heavenly bread is one of the best things you can do with this vegetable! This recipe for Grilled Eggplant Panini is definitely a must try!

If eggplant is not your thing, then how about making a panini laden with the flavors of olives? I know there are some people who do not like olives, but this Olive Panini might change their minds!

This Mozzarella, Tomato, and Basil Panini is not exactly the most creative recipe, but it sure does taste good. This combination is a classic, and it always calms down a hungry tummy.

Other interesting non-meat panini you might want to try: Grilled Portobello Mushroom Panini and Plum & Brie Dessert Panini.

Panini for those who eat everything!

Mexican Panini

Mexican Panini

If you’re not particular about what goes into your panini filling, then you have so much more options to choose from. I think that this Mexican Panini is one of the more interesting versions I have seen so far.

Prosciutto is definitely one of the most delicious of cured meats. It is great eaten alone or combined with a host of other ingredients. For a truly unique panini, try this Peach and Prosciutto Panini with Thyme Aioli. For sure, one can’t complain about it lacking flavor! For a more “sedate” panini with prosciutto, here’s a recipe for Italian Prosciutto, Fresh Mozzarella, Tomato, and Basil Panini.

Other nice mixes: Pesto Chicken and Arugula Panini and Turkey Artichoke Panini.

Remember, when making panini, your imagination’s the limit!

Panini photo via Simply_Happy

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