SOURCE: Sargento

August 01, 2011 05:00 ET

Sandwiches, Hot off the Press

MISSION, KS--(Marketwire - Aug 1, 2011) - (Family Features) In Italy, panini refers to any kind of sandwich -- but here, it's all about the cheese.

Bursting with cheese and flavorful ingredients, the panino is a popular lunchtime favorite at delis and cafes across America. However, it's easy to enjoy a mouthwatering panino at home any day of the week by using premium cheeses and experimenting with different ingredients.

Tiffany Collins, chef and author of "200 Best Panini Recipes," suggests making small twists on classic sandwiches and using natural, not processed, cheese.

"The panino is all about the cheese -- it's what holds the sandwich together. I only use 100 percent natural, real cheese like Sargento Sharp Cheddar, Baby Swiss and the new Natural Blends Cheddar Mozzarella," Chef Collins said. "The flavor profile and variety of Sargento cheeses is amazing, so you can find the perfect combination of ingredients to suit your own personal tastes, like in my Island Pineapple Chicken Panini or Veggie Stuffed Grilled Cheese Panini."

Panini Tips:

  • Breads with a firmer texture hold up better (e.g. ciabatta). If the bread is softer, you can brush a little bit of olive oil on the outside of a panino before grilling to give it a crisper texture.
  • When making a breakfast panino, try sautéing the vegetables (e.g., green peppers, baby spinach) and then use the same pan to cook the eggs so the eggs will pick up some extra flavor.
  • Cut a panino with a sharp knife that has a straight edge. Serrated knives can catch on the melted ingredients, pulling them out of the sandwich.
  • To make your vegetables and fruit stay crisp and crunchy, add them to your panino after grilling.

Visit www.Sargento.com for more product information and recipes.

Island Pineapple Chicken Panini
Serves 2

2 slices fresh pineapple (1/4-inch thick)
2 ciabatta rolls, split
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1/3 cup bottled teriyaki glaze
4 ounces deli chicken breast, sliced thin
2 slices Sargento Natural Blends Deli Style Cheddar-Mozzarella Cheese
4 thin slices red onion
1/2 cup shredded Napa cabbage

Preheat panini grill to high

Arrange pineapple on bottom grill plate, close the top plate, and grill until pineapple is tender and grill-marked (1 to 2 minutes). Remove and keep warm. Wipe grill plates clean.

Place rolls, cut side down, on a work surface and brush crusts with butter. Turn rolls over and brush with teriyaki glaze.

On bottom halves, evenly layer with chicken, pineapple, Cheddar-Mozzarella cheese, onion and cabbage. Drizzle with the remaining teriyaki glaze. Cover with top halves and press gently to pack.

Place sandwiches in grill, close top plate, and cook until golden brown (3 to 4 minutes). Serve immediately.

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