Margherita Panini with Balsamic Syrup

by Kelli H. on August 24, 2011

I’m a sandwich girl, especially vegetarian sandwiches. See here.
They are easy and simple and are not just suitable for lunch! Over the summer I’ve made sandwiches a few times for dinner and I have a feeling in the next few months I’ll be making more with our hectic work/school schedules.  Panini’s are great and help meld flavors together inside the bread. I love them but I don’t have a panini press of my own. Well, I actually do but it’s at my parent’s house. I left it there when I moved out because I don’t have very much room in my kitchen. When I decide to make a panini this happens. See below:
That would be my grill pan with my dutch oven on top of my panini. This works great! Anything really heavy to get those grill marks! Wa-la, a homemade panini press.
This recipe is simple and I was super happy to have fresh tomatoes (FINALLY!) from my CSA as well as basil. Of course, I didn’t plan on having basil from my CSA so I bought some from WF’s and used that instead. 
See how itty-bitty that basil is from the CSA? It’s so cute but I think I’ll use it for some bruschetta  (BRUSK-etta! jk I say it the wrong way…I just think it’s funny people correct people on the pronunciation — we’re not in Italy!) later in the week.

Margherita Panini with Balsamic Syrup

Adapted from Cooking Light August 2011
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
ciabatta bread, cut in half horizontally
1 T olive oil
12 basil leaves 
5 oz fresh mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
2 medium tomatoes, thinly sliced
S & P to taste
1. Bring balsamic vinegar to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until vinegar has reduced by half. 
2. Preheat grill pan or panini press over medium heat. Lightly coat the inside of each half with the balsamic vinegar. Top bread with slices of mozzarella cheese, basil, and tomato slices. Sprinkle with S & P. Lightly brush top and bottom of bread with olive oil. Grill for about 2-3 minutes on each side or until cheese is molten lava ( I mean, melted). 
Yesterday a co-worker brought in mini cupcakes his wife had made. When I walked into the kitchen these were staring up at me. 
How could I resist?!

Cute, little, lemony goodness right in front of my face? I was a goner…I waited until 10 a.m. to try one but it didn’t stop at one… throughout the day I ended up eating…5! I’m kind of embarrassed to admit it but I must confess my sins. Is saying I’m hormonal an excuse or does that only work with chocolate guilt?

Cute little baby back at my desk. : ) 

How do you resist treats at work if someone brings in baked goods? 
I’m usually pretty good but I just couldn’t resist today!

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Amy J. and Tiffanie A. August 24, 2011 at 1:24 pm

LOOKS AWESOME!!! Very simple idea yet I am sure super flavorful!! I never resist sweets ESPECIALLY if someone makes the effort to being them in!

We just started following you! Cannot wait for more recipes!!



Lauren @ Sugar Coated Sisters August 24, 2011 at 4:47 pm

I love making mini cupcakes because they are SO small and therefore guiltfree (right?) haha…

Brilliant use of your dutch oven might I add! I’ve got one of those, but no grill pan. Drats. The panini sounds divine!


Made in Sonoma August 24, 2011 at 6:02 pm

@Lauren @ Sugar Coated Sisters

I like to tell myself that too! haha


Made in Sonoma August 24, 2011 at 6:03 pm

@Amy J. and Tiffanie A.
Thanks for checkin’ out my blog! 🙂


Emily @ Glitz Glam Granola August 24, 2011 at 11:02 pm

That panini looks delicious!! I love anything that combines cheese and basil. You are right, that basil is TINY! Glad you picked some up at WF for your sandwich. I don’t have a panini pan either, but I loveee panini style sandwiches so I’ll be trying your little trick very soon! And sometimes it is REALLY hard to resist work snacks! Every time you go to the kitchen they stare up at you! But hey, they were minis so they can’t be tooo bad, right?? 😉


thecookieboss August 25, 2011 at 11:22 pm

Despite being the cookie boss, I’m quite the sandwich girl myself. I probably use my panini maker everyday! I love making new sandwiches, and they’re all vegetarian because I’m a vegetarian.


Shellie July 22, 2012 at 11:36 pm

I love panini’s and that’s how i make mine too…why buy a fancy sandwich maker when you can use a heavy pot…easier to clean too. I am going to try this one Monday night! Thanks for always coming up with healthy, easy recipes.

Our office has fresh pastries every morning that I avoid…but if I ever saw lemon anything…it’s over for me!


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