Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Portobello and Roasted Red Pepper Panini

2013 Blogger Party Planning

With March approaching and summer activities being planned, Larry Doolittle (Big Dude's Eclectic Ramblings), Katherine Aucoin (Smoky Mountain CafĂ©), and our spouses met at Larry and Bev's gorgeous home on the lake, "Almost Heaven South" to make preliminary plans for our 4th annual blogger party.  We could have done it by email or on the phone, but it’s still winter and every excuse for a party needs to be utilized.
It took us about 5 minutes to do our preliminary planning and about 5 hours to catch up with one another and have fun. 
We each provided an appetizer, we had some adult beverages, and Bev made the dessert of Molten Lava Cake. It seems like we never stopped eating the whole 5 hours!   For our appetizer I made the Portobello and Roasted Red Pepper Panini listed below.  
As for this year’s blogger party, it will be May 26, which is the Sunday of Memorial Day Weekend (same as last year) and we’ve chosen a Hawaiian Luau as this year’s theme.  We still have the details to work out and will publish them in April, but for now we hope you’ll add the event to your calendar and plan to join us to eat, drink, and get lei’d.

Portobello and Roasted Red Pepper Panini

by adapted from Crazy Good Italian by Mike Isabella
Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 15 min

Ingredients (4 sandwiches or 16 appetizers)
    For the artichoke pesto
    • 2 tsp pine nuts
    • 3 artichoke hearts, cut into 4ths
    • 1/4 cup shaved Pecorino Romano
    • 1 tsp minced garlic
    • 1/4 tsp smoked sea salt
    • 1/8 tsp red pepper flake
    • 1/4 cup olive oil
    For the panini
    • 4 ciabatta rolls
    • 4 whole portobello mushrooms
    • 1/2 cup roasted red pepper, cut into strips
    • 8 ounces fresh mozarella cut into slices
    • 8 large basil leaves
    • olive oil
    1. Roast the portobello mushrooms - Preheat oven to 400f. Remove the mushroom stems, remove the gills with a spoon, and wipe the mushrooms clean with a damp cloth. Rub them lightly with oil. Roast for 15 minutes. After cooled, slice into 1/4" strips.
    2. Make the artichoke pesto - Toast the pine nuts in a dry pan over medium heat, tossing frequently, until lightly browned (about 5 minutes). Place all pesto ingredients, except the oil, in a food processor. Turn on the processor and slowly add the oil until it is all combined.
    3. Assemble the panini - Split the ciabatta rolls in half. Top the bottoms with mozzarella, the mushrooms, the roasted red pepper, and torn pieces of the basil leaves. Smear some of the pesto on the the top bun.
    4. Cook the panini - Preheat a panini press to 350-375f (medium). Put two sandwiches in, press closed and cook until the cheese is melted and the bread is crispy, about 5 minutes. Repeat with the remaining two.
    Tips: If you are in a hurry, you could just slice the mushrooms and saute them in some butter which will cut the mushroom cooking time to about 8 minutes.
    Tips: Cut the panini in fourths as pictured for appetizer portions.
    Powered by Recipage

    I am loving my newest kitchen toy, a Cuisinart Smart Stick, that we picked up at Costco for about $20.  It is a stick blender motor that has attachments for an immersion blender, whisk, or the pictured mini-food processor.  It makes quick work of small projects like this pesto for the panini.  The motor has two speeds.  It is easy to clean, since the attachments separate from the motor.  And at $20 it's a deal!  

    Panini have a tendency to taste a little "flat".  Ha ha ha ha, whew.  Sorry.  I'll show myself out. 

    You could also just grill the portobello mushrooms whole on the grill, a few minutes per side over medium heat.  You could even cook these panini ON the grill using a foil covered brick like I did when making these Bristol Bash 'em Up Panini.

    [Standard Disclaimer]  I have no affiliation with Cuisinart.


    1. Will get back to you next week as I am busier than you can imagine (I am feeding 100 good Christian Women this weekend), but count Jackie and me in!!!


    2. They were really good Chris and I ate the last two for lunch today.

    3. A classic panini for sure. Our George Foreman grill makes for a nice panini press too.

    4. Mmmm... I love portobello sandwiches of any kind! This looks fantastic! I need to try this on the grill. I keep using the excuse of "I can't make a panini cuz I don't have a panini press"... thanks for proving me wrong :)

    5. These look delicious Chris and they would have been enough for me for lunch. But I do love long lunches. I've got the dates on our calendar. Hope we can make it. Lots going on.

    6. I hope to make it this year. Love the panini!

    7. I am also lobbying for a pig roast. I'll bring the apple for the mouth (and happy to contribute 1/3rd of the costs)

    8. I was waiting and hoping the date of your blogger deal would coincide with our annual trip to Tennessee...but you chose one of only two weekends that we have to be here because it's the boy's wedding! I would have loved to have crashed the par-tay...and with that invitation...eat, drink and get lei'd...with panini on the side...would could resist?!?

    9. Brilliant! That is my kind of sandwich. Love the artichoke pesto with the roasted peppers and portobello mushrooms. MMmmm good!

    10. i adore paninis, i don't know why i don't make them more. what a fun get together!

    11. I need to move closer to you so I can just go and hang out and make awesome VEG paninis! very impressed, Chris!

    12. Forgot to tell you, I love Crazy Good Italian - it's a great book, so thanks for the recommend!

    13. The blogger party sounds awesome. I wish we lived closer!

    14. What better folks to hang out with than folks who cook food, write about food, obsess about food, nurture food, devour food, talk about food??? What a fabulous time!

    15. That smart stick looks cool, I'll have to be on the lookout for one. And where is this blogger party?!?! What a great idea!

    16. I keep listening to the news broadcast talk about receiving free online grant applications so I have been looking around for the most excellent site to get one. Could you tell me please, where could i find some?


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