Paninis are my family's favorite lunch. We bought a panini maker a while ago, and we like to experiment with different toppings. Every family member has their favorites, and I let everyone play around with it on their own.
It's fairly easy to prepare. Start with a long roll, or baguette. It can be whole wheat, or regular, whichever you prefer. Decide what you want to fill it with. I love to fill it with sautéed veggies, like eggplant, mushrooms, onion strips, red pepper strips, and spinach. Tomatoes I like to slice thinly and put it in raw, not sautéed . You might like to include some sharper things, like olives, capers, anchovies, or spicy peppers. Find what appeals to you. You can also include hard boiled eggs, thinly sliced fish, or meats. Of course cheeses are a favorite. Mix feta and mozzarella for a classic combination. Here I will walk you through the steps for assembling your panini.
First, slice the roll in half lengthwise. Scoop out some of the white part of the bread to create a hollow part for the filling to go into. Spread some cream cheese on both sides of the bread. Add some pasta sauce over it. Now you can start adding some veggies.
Continue adding more veggies in layers, trying to spread them out evenly do that you will be able to put the other half on it, and it will fit well. Now is the time to add anything else, like eggs, avocado slices, etc.. I like to hollow out the upper half of the roll too, this way you can really stuff in all the toppings you want.
Here we topped it off with some more pasta sauce. You can also use pesto dressing, which I happen to love, or experiment with other dressings, and sauces. This one I made for my son, and he likes just pasta sauce, onions, tomatoes and olives. The onions were from a jar that was already sauteed and sold that way. convenient!
Now my favorite part. Sprinkle on lots of shredded cheese, I also love to put some feta cheese, crumbled, and evenly spread out.
Cover it with the other half, trying to keep everything inside. You don't need to squeeze it down too hard, as it bakes, the ingredients will soften and melt and it will become flatter.
It's best to wrap it in parchment paper, to keep the cheeses, and toppings from running out. Place in the heated panini maker, and just press down slightly. Don't press down too hard, it will settle on its own. Bake until cheese is melted and everything is heated through, app. 10-15 minutes.
Now comes the best part. Cut it diagonally in half, and put it on a pretty plate. Here we used our modern dinner plate from our modern dinnerware collection. If you want to make it look pretty, garnish with some veggies, olives, and some herbs. Now go enjoy it!!