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panettone and panini

panini

Panini is the perfect weekend late lunch or dinner while watching my Arizona Cardinals on Sunday Night Football. The word “panino” is Italian for small bread roll; its plural form is panini. Many Americans use the word paninis, which is incorrect. I’m using panettone as the bread for my panini. Panettone is a sweet bread of Milan, it is usually prepared for Christmas and New Year all around Italy and is one of the symbols of Milan. It is readily available in markets now and throughout the holidays.  I found two flavors at Cost Plus World Market, the traditional one which is studded with candied orange, citron, lemon zest, and raisins. The other is a Cranberry Panettone and has dried cranberries in place of the raisins.

Panettone

To make panini, you can use an electric panini press, a cast-iron stove-top press, a waffle iron, or even a George Forman grill.  Just be sure to preheat whatever you use. I have a well-seasoned stovetop cast-iron press, so I do not butter my bread first, but you certainly can if you so choose.

I was drinking a chai tea latte while I was making these and just before I was going to caramelize the apple slices, I decided to use the chai tea concentrate instead of water to caramelize the sugar… turned out great!  I love the TAZO brand, but you can easily use 1/4 cup of water in its place.

chai and pan

Sunday Night Football Panini

1 purchased Panettone

Roquefort, Pear, Walnut, and Honey Panini
2 ounces Roquefort cheese, room temperature
1/4 pear, cored and thinly sliced
4-5 walnut halves
1 tablespoon honey

Bacon, White Cheddar, Apple Panini
3 slices bacon, cooked crisp and drained
6-8 slices of sharp white cheddar cheese
1/4 apple, cored and thinly sliced

Brie, Chai Tea Caramelized Apple, and Pecan Panini
6-8 slices of brie cheese
1/4 cup chai tea latte concentrate
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 apple, cored and thinly sliced
4-5 pecan halves

Preheat the panini grill pan to medium-high heat.

For each sandwich: Starting at the bottom side of the panettone, cut a slice 1/2- inch thick and cut the slice in half, forming two 1/2 moon shapes.

For Roquefort, Pear, Walnut, and Honey Panini: Spread 1 slice of bread with softened cheese. Top with pear slices, sprinkle with walnuts, and drizzle with honey.  Lightly spread the other slice of bread with cheese and place that slice on top of the sandwich, cheese side down. Use a metal spatula to transfer the sandwich to the grill pan and place the top down on the sandwich for 3 to 4 minutes until warmed through and the panini has grill marks.

For White Cheddar, Bacon, and Apple Panini: Cover 1 slice of bread with cheddar cheese slices. Top with crisp bacon and apple slices. Cover apple slices with more cheddar cheese slices. Use a metal spatula to transfer the sandwich to the grill pan and place the top down on the sandwich for 3 to 4 minutes until the cheese is melted and the panini has grill marks.

For Brie, Chai Tea Caramelized Apples, and Pecan Panini: Pour Chai Tea Latte Concentrate and sugar in a small skillet, over high heat.  Bring to a boil without stirring.  When large bubbles form, most of the liquid has cooked off and the sugar is beginning to caramelize, add the apple slices and reduce heat to medium, stir occasionally until apples soften, about 4 minutes.  Remove from heat.

chai and sugar, ready for apples, caramelized apples

chai and sugar, ready for apples, caramelized apples

Cover 1 slice of bread with brie cheese slices. Top with apple slices and sprinkle with pecans.  Cover apple slices with more brie cheese slices. Use a metal spatula to transfer the sandwich to the grill pan and place the top down on the sandwich for 3 to 4 minutes until the cheese is melted and the panini has grill marks.

Makes 1 sandwich of each flavor


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2 comments

1 Connor { 10.26.09 at 9:59 AM }

Why didnt you make Pinini’s when I was home *pouts*
And Happy Birthday

2 Linda Hopkins { 10.26.09 at 11:09 AM }

Next time, promise. Posting dessert panini today!

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