Pesto Chicken Panini

These sandwiches were a big hit beginning in the early 2000s and as far as I am concerned are still a hit.  The flavors blend together so well under the weight and heat of the Panini press.  With sun-dried and green basil pesto (homemade) what a combination this Panini is.  Now is the time to use all of that basil you have been growing before the cold weather comes.  Low 40’s here in Michigan overnight – too early for a frost!

I was wrong – one of my basil plants did get nipped a little (the brown on the leaves).  My tomatoes seem to be okay!


I like to freeze a batch or two of both kinds of pesto in ice cube trays and then when I only need a little bit to put on a sandwich or perhaps add to a vegetable soup I just thaw out what I need.  These ice cube trays are great as they have lids to keep the pesto fresh.  Allow 1-2 cubes per sandwich depending on the size of the sandwich.

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This is my seventh Panini sandwich I have posted so instead of listing every one you can  go to the Sandwich category and  see all the different sandwiches.  See my post Kitchen Gadgets – Panini Makers which is a Krups.

This recipe comes from Buddy Valastro – yes in addition to delicious and fun cakes he makes he is also Italian and has his own cookbook with family recipes.  I have used his recipe with my own pesto recipes.

Panini is the plural form of Panino which in Italy is the word for a sandwich made from bread such as ciabatta or baguette.  In the United States, England and Canada it refers to pressed and toasted sandwiches made with sliced bread.  I like to use an Artesian bread such as Zingerman’s sourdough or Whole Food’s country bread.

Pesto Chicken Panini

  • thin sliced, skinless chicken breasts
  • kosher salt
  • clove of garlic crushed or use garlic powder
  • olive oil to drizzle over the chicken and brush the outside of the bread
  • sourdough bread or any good country bread, about 1/2-inch thick
  • basil pesto (see my recipe Pesto)
  • sun-dried tomato pesto (see my recipe Sun-dried Tomato Pesto)
  • thin slices of provolone (allow 2 per sandwich)

Place the chicken in a shallow dish.  Sprinkle salt and garlic powder (or rub a crushed garlic clove) on both sides of the chicken pieces.  Drizzle one side  with olive oil, turn and drizzle oil on the other side;   let rest for 30 minutes.

Preheat your grill pan or your  outside grill and cook the chicken on medium high until done; set aside to cool, then slice each chicken piece about 1/2-inch thick.

Preheat your Panini grill until good and hot.  Spread a thin layer of basil pesto on the bottom inside slice of bread.  Add 2 slices of provolone cheese, chicken slices and spread a thin layer of sun-dried tomato pesto on the top inside slice of bread.  Brush the tops with oil and grill.

Comment: You could substitute the pesto with pesto mayonnaise; 3/4 cup mayonnaise plus 3 tbsp. pesto.

Recipe by 

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