Thursday, March 15, 2012

Italian-Style Cheesesteak Panini

Remember yesterday when I said my ciabatta bread had panini written all over it?  It's because I had been eyeballing this recipe.  I knew we were making the bread for Bake 52 and I wanted to find a panini recipe that could incorporate it.  I was flipping through my book and saw "cheesesteak" and it had me.  
Then I kept reading to find pesto, onion, red pepper and fontina cheese.  At that point there was no turning back.  I bought all the ingredients to be ready to make my paninis-or is plural just panini with a long I at the end-or just regular panini and it means more than one?  Anyway, I probably should have had a plan B for my bread in case it didn't turn out but luckily I didn't need a plan B, the bread was panini-perfect. My kids probably would have eaten all the bread by themselves if I hadn't kept slapping their hands away.  (Calm down, I didn't really slap anyone.)  Luckily, I was able to ward them off.  

I think just about any bread would work though, french bread would be great.  The original recipe calls for long Italian rolls.  I am sure you could use anything.  Including portabella mushroom caps (that's on my list to try).  

We really liked these sandwiches, but what's not to like?  You should try them.  

Italian-Style Cheesesteak Panini
Adapted from: Panini

Pesto (recipe below)
Bread of your choice
Steak (recipe below)
4 oz fontina cheese, thinly sliced
Vegetables (recipe below)
1 T olive oil

1/4 cup pine nuts
2 cups tightly packed basil leaves
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 T olive oil
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
salt/pepper to taste

Add pine nuts to a dry skillet and cook over med-low heat, stirring constantly until lightly toasted (3-5 minutes).  Watch closely they burn fast.  Transfer to a plate to cool.  Add pine nuts and basil to food processor fitted with a metal blade and combine.  Add garlic and pulse to combine.  With motor running add olive oil and process to a puree.  Add cheese and pulse to blend.  Salt and pepper to taste.

10-12 oz skirt steak (I used beef sirloin tip, thin sliced) 
1 T red wine vinegar
1 T balsamic vinegar
1 T honey
1 tsp chopped garlic
1 T olive oil
salt and pepper

Salt and pepper the meat and place in zip lock bag  Mix remaining ingredients together and add to bag.  Let sit for 20 minutes.  Remove steak and brush with olive oil.  You can cook it in skillet or cook on your panini press.  I did the latter and it was kind of a mess, next time it will be the skillet for me.  Cook until it's done to your liking.  My was very thin and cooked super fast.  Remove and let stand for about 5 minutes.  Slice steak across the grain as thinly as possible and set a side.

2 T olive oil
1 med onion sliced
1 med red pepper, sliced
4 oz mushrooms, chopped (optional)
2 tsp garlic
1 tsp balsamic vinegar

Add oil to a skillet and heat at med-high until smoking.  Add onions and peppers, reduce heat to medium and cook until tender (5-8 minutes).  Add garlic and mushrooms and cook 2-3 minutes more.  Remove from heat and add salt, pepper and vinegar.

ASSEMBLY:  brush one side of bread with olive oil and flip over to fill (so the olive oil will be on the outside of the sandwich and in contact with the grill).  Add pesto, cheese, steak and veggies to each sandwich and grill until cheese is melted and meat is warm. 

*If you don't have a panini grill, you could always just use a regular pan and flip them over.  {Wouldn't that just be awful?  Having to flip something over?  It just gave me the hebbie jebbies.}  If you really don't want to flip them, Tyler and I did it once with 2 pans.  We got 2  pans hot and placed the panini in one and then pushed the bottom of the other hot pan down over the top.  Making a sandwich-sandwich.  It worked pretty well but I am not sure it was completely necessary.


  1. You know, I've never had a proper cheesesteak. Having one on home made bread sounds like a winner though.

  2. Ooh, I just love the crisp bread of a panini sandwich and all the oozing warm fillings. This one looks delicious!


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