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Herb Pesto and Mozzarella Panini

Herb Pesto and Mozzarella Panini
An immersion blender makes fast work of preparing this pesto, which combines three varieties of fresh herbs: basil, mint and chives.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 3/4 cup packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup packed fresh mint leaves
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh chives
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 8 slices country-style bread, cut on the bias 1/4 inch thick
  • 8 oz. fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 1 large tomato, thinly sliced

Directions:

Put the pine nuts, basil, mint, chives, garlic, lemon juice and the 1/4 cup olive oil in a tall bowl or blending container. Using an immersion blender, blend until smooth. Stir in the Parmigiano-Reggiano, and season the pesto with salt and pepper.

Preheat a panini press to 400ºF or medium-high heat.

Brush one side of each bread slice with olive oil. Lay the slices oiled side down and spread the top of each slice with 1 Tbs. of the pesto. Arrange 3 or 4 mozzarella slices in a single layer on 4 of the bread slices, then top with a layer of tomato slices, dividing evenly. Season with salt and pepper. Top each with one of the remaining bread slices, oiled side up.

Place 2 sandwiches on the preheated panini press, close the lid, and cook until the bread is toasted and the cheese is melted, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer the sandwiches to a cutting board and cut in half. Repeat with the remaining sandwiches. Serve immediately. Serves 4.
Williams-Sonoma Kitchen.