After learning that my Nana has had a panini-maker stuffed in her cupboard for several years, I decided I'd put it to good use and make various Italian panini as the centerpiece of my meal.
To select the right ingredients, I remembered back to summer when I practically lived on toasts (Italian version of grilled cheese with prosciutto) and panini. They were always so simple, usually one or two components, so keeping to tradition I chose these three Italian classics: Panino Caprese, Panino Verdura, and Panino con Prosciutto e Brie.
Grilling zucchini and eggplant for the Panino Verdura
Panino Caprese with mozzarella, tomatos and fresh basil
Things got off to an interesting start when I realized that the panini-maker was missing the handle, so the art of pressing down firmly now included the risk of being scorched. Using an oven mitt and a little elbow grease, I dug in while my brother-in-law and mom worked on our side dishes: Creamy pumpkin soup and a fresh beet salad with goat cheese, Sherry vinaigrette and candied walnuts.
Putting my muscles to work
Panino con Prosciutto e Brie
After only about 3-4 minutes on each side, the Ciabatta bread was branded with those panini-perfect grill lines and the cheese we gooey and piping hot. Tutti a tavola per mangiare!