Chicken & Red Pesto Panini stacked on brown parchment paper
Chicken & Red Pesto Panini

This is a speedy weeknight dinner made special with a homemade sun-dried tomato pesto. You will have some leftover pesto from the batch, which will keep for about a week in the refrigerator. It’s excellent over pasta as well on sandwiches. Serve these panini with a green salad or bowl of soup to round out the meal.

Chicken & Red Pesto Panini

Chicken & Red Pesto Panini stacked on brown parchment paper
This is a speedy weeknight dinner made special with a homemade sun-dried tomato pesto. You will have some leftover pesto from the batch, which will keep for about a week in the refrigerator. It’s excellent over pasta as well on sandwiches. Serve these panini with a green salad or bowl of soup to round out the meal.
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Ingredients
 

For the red pesto:

  • ½ cup sundried tomatoes from an oil-packed jar, drained
  • ¼ cup toasted walnuts
  • 2 small garlic cloves crushed
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

For the panini:

  • 8 slices of artisan sourdough bread or 4 soft individual ciabatta rolls
  • 1 ½ cups shredded cooked chicken
  • ½ cup red pesto
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella
  • ½ cups jarred roasted red bell peppers sliced
  • A handful of fresh basil leaves
  • Olive oil for cooking

Instructions
 

  • First make the pesto. Place the sundried tomatoes in a food processor along with the toasted walnuts, crushed garlic, lemon zest, and tomato paste. Process until the tomatoes have broken down, scraping down the sides as necessary, then add the grated cheese, olive oil and a half teaspoon of the salt. Process again until you have a smooth paste. Taste for seasoning and add more salt if needed.
  • Cover the bottom halves of the bread evenly with a few spoonfuls of the pesto. You will probably not use all of it. Top with the chicken, then the roasted bell peppers, then tear or slice the mozzarella and layer it on top of the chicken. Add plenty of freshly cracked black pepper, a few basil leaves, and cover with the other bread halves.
  • Heat a panini press or large skillet over medium heat. Brush the pan with olive oil, then lay the sandwiches in the pan. If using a skillet, find something heavy to place on top of the sandwiches, or press down on them frequently with a spatula to flatten.
  • When they are browned on the bottom side, flip over and continue to cook until browned and crispy on both sides. Serve warm.
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