Being engaged has its advantages--you marry the one you love, people fawn over you for no reason and on top of that you get fun presents. One of those presents happens to be the best invention since the oven--well almost. I'm talking about no other than the panini press that we got from my aunt Hela and uncle Andy. It's very embarrassing but my level of excitement to come home and make a panini is immeasurable. So far, I've eaten paninis three times this week and the urge isn't waning. In fact, last night I grilled up a Nutella panini a la Giada De Laurentiis. I don't know when this panini tick will stop but I'm taking it in stride.
Here's a fun panini combination that I made recently, and you can too! If you don't have a panini press, just use a grillpan and weigh it down with a pot--the effect is the same.
Genoa, Provologne and Pear Panini:
Ingredients: (serves 2)
4 pieces of your favorite country bread (try to avoid soft breads such as Wonder)
4-8 slices of Genoa salami (depends on your preference; if you like a lot of meat, add more, if you don't take some out)
4-8 slices of Provolone cheese (see comment above about your preference)
8 thin slices of fresh pears
Turn the panini press on and set the temperature to 375 degrees. Drizzle the insides of the bread with olive oil and then place all ingredients on the bread in whichever order you prefer. Put the sandwich together and then drizzle with olive oil on the outside of the bread (both sides). Place inside the panini maker or grillpan and press together. Let it cook for about 3-5 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Again, this depends on your preference of how well-done you like your bread. Take bread out of the panini maker and cut in half.
Now, I needed something else with my panini to make it heartier and even more satisfying. So I decided to make a simple chicken stock based pea soup. The recipe came from my Dave Lieberman cookbook. It's easy and fast and requires very few ingredients. In my variation, I skipped the sour cream for garnish and instead used sliced prosciutto, which provided a nice salty contrast with the sweetness from the peas. As you see on this picture, I served the pea soup in oversized coffee mugs for fun presentation. And those adorable mugs happen to be (once again) a present from friends, Carrie and Neil. Did I mention that being engaged has its perks?