Smoked Mozzarella & Chicken Panini
I’ve been wanting a panini grill for a while now, but I just couldn’t bring myself to spend that much money on a (as Alton Brown says) “uni-tasker.” So when I thought I saw a Cuisinart 4-in-1 Griddler on sale at Amazon for only $43.95, I immediately ordered it!
It turns out, what I actually ordered was just the regular Cuisinart panini press, NOT the 4-in-1 I thought I was ordering. No WONDER it was such a great price! Doggone it!
However I ended up with it, it is definitely easier to make panini with this, than trying to press a sandwich using a cast iron skillet and a grill pan. We tried it out for the first time last night on these yummy Smoked Mozzarella and Chicken Panini sandwiches, and it worked like a charm.
This recipe is fairly quick and simple but packs in lots of flavor, and the sandwiches are large and filling. This made two large panini sandwiches for us as a one-dish meal, but if you were serving sides, you could probably serve just one-half to 4 people and be fine.
Don’t wimp out and sub regular mozzarella for the smoked – it’s what makes it so amazing!
- Cooking spray
- 1 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- Salt and Pepper
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/2 small yellow onion, chopped
- 1 (14.5 oz) can Fire Roasted diced tomatoes (regular tomatoes will work, too)
- 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
- 1/2 pound smoked mozzarella cheese
- 4 large slices of ciabatta bread (or other sturdy bread)
Heat grill or indoor grill pan to high. Season chicken with salt and pepper and spray with cooking spray (or drizzle with olive oil). Spray pan liberally with cooking spray. Grill chicken 3-4 minutes per side and set aside.
Heat a small to medium saucepan on medium heat. Spray bottom with cooking spray. Add garlic, red pepper flakes and onions and cook, stirring frequently, for 5-7 minutes until onions are softened. Add tomatoes and heat through, about 2 minutes. Add half of the basil and taste. Season with salt and pepper if needed.
Reduce heat a little and allow tomato mixture to reduce while you prepare sandwiches.
Lay 4 slices of ciabatta bread on your cutting board. Lay slices of smoked mozzarella on 2 of the silces, and sprinkle parmesan cheese on the other two. Lay one grilled chicken breast on each parmesan coated slide of bread.
Remove your sauce pan from the heat and strain tomato mixture through a strainer, discarding tomato juice. If you don’t get rid of all that juice, your sandwiches will be even more messy!
Spread a large spoonful of tomato mixture over each chicken breast, sprinkle with remaining basil, then close up your sandwiches.
Spray outside of sandwich with butter flavored cooking spray, or brush with olive oil or melted butter.
Grill ‘em, baby! Use your panini press or two pans or whatever your pressed sandwich method is, until the bread is pressed and crispy, and the cheese is melted.
Cut sandwiches in half and serve hot.