Lately I can’t seem to stop making this Italian panini any time I want a quick, no-stress lunch or dinner! It’s everything you love about an Italian sub – salami, cured meats, yummy cheese, spicy peppers, and more all heated in a sandwich press to make it even better. Yum!
Another sunny (but chilly!) fall day here.
This past weekend the daughter and I went apple picking. Great fun and now I have a PILE of apples which need recipes. Have any ideas? I have a bunch of my own apple recipes, but I’m always happy for some more!
But, onto today’s recipe. Italian sub paninis are my new favorite lunch and we’ve been having them regularly!
They’re easy, they’re tasty, they’re cheesy. What’s not to love? And paninis in general are great because you can switch them up to your own tastes. Amp up (or down) the peppers, switch up the exact meats, go for provolone or fontina or mozzarella. It’s all good.
They’re also a great change up from pizza on the nights when you’re just not in the mood for cooking. Keep some salami, cheese, and a jar of sliced banana peppers in the house and you’ll be having dinner quicker and cheaper than take out. And tastier!
Not that I’m ever not in the mood to cook or tired out from taking pictures of dessert and am all ‘it’s pizza or sandwiches’ tonight. Never.
What do you need?
- Hearty Bread – Go for a type which isn’t too soft so it can stand up to being pressed. White, whole wheat, multigrain – it’s all good.
- Deli Meats – Use a mix of salami, pepperoni, soppressata, coppa, and/or prosciutto along with some turkey or ham.
- Sliced Cheeses – Provolone, mozzarella, fontina, or havarti are great choices.
- Condiments – Mayo, oil, vinegar.
- Veggies – Hot peppers, tomatoes, and lettuce are my favorites.
How to make this
To make an Italian sub panini, spread a little mayonnaise on two slices of bread. Then layer on deli meats, provolone cheese, and banana peppers. Grill the panini on both sides, then lever it open and add shredded lettuce and sliced tomatoes.
- Start by cutting a ciabatta bun in half or getting two slices of hearty sandwich bread.
- Spread a thin coat of mayo on the bread then add some shredded cheese to each side.
- Layer on your deli meat, such as salami, pepperoni, ham, and soppressata.
- Add some sliced hot peppers.
- Grill the panini in a sandwich press or grill pan with a weight.
- Add the lettuce and sliced tomatoes.
Step by Step
Making this is pretty simple. All you need to do is layer everything and then grill/toast the sandwich until the cheese is melty and the bread is browned. What makes it special is the ingredients you use.
First up is the meat. The exact meats you use here are up to you. I like to have a variety on hand for people to pick and choose, and I usually have a salami, some pepperoni, and at least one of soppressata, coppa, or prosciutto. Also, some lean ham or turkey makes a nice addition if you want more meat without the extra calories of cured sausages.
Then choose a bread. Two great choices for bread are to use either ciabatta rolls or a sliced rustic loaf. Whatever you use, you want a hearty bread which isn’t too sweet or too sour, since either will tend to take over the flavors.
Next up is the cheese! Since this is an Italian panini, I’ve stuck with regional cheeses. Salami and provolone is a classic pairing and my personal favorite. My husband prefers fontina. And you could also use a nice, fresh mozzarella! Just stick with a softer cheese and shred it for optimal melting.
Spicy panini = hot peppers. You can use anything from a mild banana pepper or cherry pepper to jalapeno peppers to whatever jarred or fresh hot peppers which tickle your fancy.
Finish it off with some veggies! Sweet peppers, crispy lettuce, tomatoes, onions. They’re all good. Whatever you like on a sub is perfect here.
If you try my recipe for an Italian Panini, I would love to hear from you in the comments with your experience and rating! And I’m happy to answer any questions you might have.
– Happy Eating, Annemarie
Spicy Italian Sub Panini
- 2 slices hearty bread, such as a rustic dinner bread or ciabatta
- 1 tbsp mayonnaise
- 1-2 oz Italian cheese, see note
- 1-2 oz Italian deli meats, see note
- sliced pickled hot peppers, see note
- olive oil
- 2-3 slices tomato
- shredded lettuce
- optional toppings: onion, sweet peppers, olive oil, red wine vinegar, dried oregano
- Lay out all your fillings.
- Begin heating your sandwich press or grill pan with a weight.
- Spread a thin coat of mayonnaise on two slices of bread.
- Layer on the cheese, deli meats, and hot peppers. Close the sandwich and brush the outside of the bread with a little olive oil.
- Put it onto your sandwich press and grill until the outside is golden brown and the cheese is melted.
- Open up the panini (carefully since it's hot) and add your desired toppings. Slice in half and serve.
- Italian Deli Meats: You can use a combination of salami, pepperoni, prosciutto, coppa, sopressata, smoked ham, and/or mortadella.
- Italian Cheeses: Provolone, fontina, and fresh mozzarella are all great choices, either sliced thinly or shredded.
- Hot Peppers: Depending on your spice tolerance, you can use cherry peppers, banana peppers, or jalapenos.
- Grill Pan: I have a Calphalon panini grill pan which I've had and used for several years now.