In Italy, “panino” just means sandwich, usually made up of pretty basic ingredients. On this side of the Atlantic, however, the name conjures up images of crusty bread, melting cheese and piles of meat, something that seems complicated and gourmet, but doesn’t have to be. Best of all, paninis are quick but pack a lot of flavour, and the varied ingredients make them a lot more exciting than your average sandwich.
This panino can be made on any kind of bread, but I suggest a ciabatta roll (store a few in your freezer for the coming weeks). A thick layer of artichoke olive spread coats the bread, and is the perfect backdrop for the roasted Portobello mushroom and lightly wilted spinach. This artichoke spread is also great to keep on hand as a snack, so make a few batches to store in the freezer. Of course the most important part of this sandwich is the bubbling melted cheese, so don’t be afraid to pile it on.
- Place all of the ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth.
- Heat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Take the stalk off the mushroom and place it face up on a baking sheet. Drizzle a tablespoon of oil over it and roast for 10 to 12 minutes, until soft.
- Cut the ciabatta in half and evenly spread the artichoke olive spread on both halves. Place a slice of cheese on each side. Place the mushroom and spinach in between the halves.
- Heat a pan over medium heat with a tablespoon of olive oil. Place the sandwich in the pan, heat through flipping once until the cheese melts, about two to three minutes per side. Eat immediately.