Thursday, March 3, 2011

roasted tomato pesto panini

     Once again, I am enamoured with something I ate somewhere else. I was at the Cafe in our local Barnes and Noble Bookseller with Hannah, who we lovingly refer to as Rollie... from the 101 Dalmatians movie. As a child she would say, in similar fashion to the cartoon canine, "I'm hungry, Mama. Really I am." The nickname has lingered, she still to this day is hungry most of the time, but definitely not rollie!
     On this particular afternoon, in true Hannah fashion, she was ravenous. We ordered coffees and a panini sandwich to share. It was made with basil pesto, oven roasted tomatoes and cheese. The panini was warm and gooey and tasted a little like pizza! What's not to love?
     I need to make this at home! After experimenting a little, (its not like it is rocket science or brain surgery, folks) here is what I came up with:
Ingredients
Roma tomatoes
a couple of garlic cloves
extra virgin olive oil (evoo)
salt and pepper
Fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
Sliced, sharp provolone cheese such as Boar's Head
a jar of basil pesto sauce
Ciabatta bread
Slice Roma tomatoes lengthwise and place in a bowl. Toss with a drizzle of evoo, a few finely minced garlic cloves and a sprinkle of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Roast in 275 degree oven for 45 minutes. Remove tray from oven and cool slightly while assembling remaining ingredients. Slice bread open horizontally.  Spread with basil pesto.  Place tomatoes and cheeses on bread.  Close and grill on Panini press until brown.  Serve warm. Remaining tomatoes can be stored in refrigerator for a week or so. Make extra... you're going to need them!

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