This Italian Grilled Cheese features fresh mozzarella, crispy proscuitto, sun-dried tomatoes, pesto, and a bright hit of syrupy balsamic vinegar. Plus, it’s extra crunchy from a coating of Parmesan cheese on the outside of the bread. It’s got all the good stuff.
The other day I had friends over fairly early in the day. I knew I wanted to feed them, but I wanted to keep it simple. Somehow, I managed to convince them that it would be a real treat to make them grilled cheese sandwiches. I felt guilty about doing something so simple, but when they actually ate them, they were so happy. On the one hand, people like any food they don’t have to cook themselves. Yet on the other hand, it’s clear that if something is delicious, it doesn’t matter how elaborate it is.
The simplest things are often the ones that bring us the most joy. A laughing baby, a cute cat video, a Ron Swanson hamburger, a simple cozy black sweater. Maybe we’re stressing ourselves out trying to make things complicated when they can just be simple.
Okay, so maybe this Italian Grilled Cheese is a little more advanced than just a couple of slices of buttered white bread and too much Velveeta. While that’s certainly great, this Italian Grilled Cheese is a little bit extra. Sometimes more is more, ya know. Sometimes we’re a bundle of contradictions. But good food is good food, and this is definitely that.
That’s being said, we’re still just making a sandwich, so it’s not exactly rocket science. Spread the inside of your bread with your favorite pesto. No need to make it yourself, but you can if you want. Next we’re going to add some fresh mozzarella. We could stop there, but we’re not gonna. Next, we layer on some chopped sun-dried tomatoes. Then comes the slice of proscuitto that we crisped up by popping it in a hot oven for about five minutes. Then because Samin taught us that everything is better with a hit of acid, we’re going to add a drizzle of balsamic vinegar that we reduced down to a syrup by boiling it down for a few minutes.
For a last little hit of salty goodness and ultimate texture, we’re going to spread some softened butter on the outside of our bread and then sprinkle on some Parmesan cheese. When we grill up our sandwiches, they’re going to go extra crispy as that Parmesan sizzles away. When you dig in, you’re gonna get the crispy cheese and bread, the crunch of the proscuitto, and the oozing cheese. That little bit of extra work will really pay off.
Keep it simple but creative. Do the thing that makes you happy. Who cares if someone else thinks it’s impressive. And make yourself an Italian Grilled Cheese. It’s gonna be awesome.
Italian Grilled CheeseCourse: LunchCuisine: ItalianDifficulty: Easy
This Italian Grilled Cheese features fresh mozzarella, crispy proscuitto, sun-dried tomatoes, pesto, and a bright hit of syrupy balsamic vinegar. Plus, it’s extra crunchy from a coating of Parmesan cheese on the outside of the bread.
4 slices soft bakery bread such as tiger bread or a white baton
4 tablespoons pesto
1 ball of fresh mozzarella, approximately 250 grams or four ounces
2 slices prosciutto
2-4 tablespoons chopped sun-dried tomatoes
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons softened butter
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
- Pre-heat your oven to 200 C (400 F). Lay out your prosciutto slices in a single layer on a baking sheet and pop them in the oven for about five minutes. Check them at five to see if they’re crisp enough. If not, just give them another minute before checking again as they’ll get crisp quickly. Pull them out to cool a bit and continue to crisp up.
- Add your balsamic vinegar to a small sauce pan. Bring this to a boil for about 3-5 minutes. Keep an eye on it, and when it’s reduced by about half, pull it off the heat. It will be thick and syrupy. Set aside.
- To build your sandwich, spread the inside of each slice of bread with a think layer of pesto. Next add a layer of cheese, the sun-dried tomatoes, prosciutto, and a drizzle of balsamic.
- Pre-heat your skillet one medium heat while you finish up the sandwiches. Put the tops on your sandwiches, and butter the outside of the bread. Sprinkle over some of the Parmesan cheese. But the sandwich in the pan, butter and cheese side down. Allow it to cook for 3-5 minutes on the first side, or until it’s as crisp as you like. While that’s happening, butter the other outside of the bread and sprinkle on more parm. Flip your sandwiches and cook for another 3-5 minutes.
- Once your sandwiches are golden and crunchy, I like to slice them in half before serving. Enjoy piping hot.
- Don’t stress too much about measurements. It might be a fancy sandwich, but it’s still just a sandwich. Add as much as fits your bread and looks good to you.
Recipe adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod.
Looking for more awesome Grilled Cheese ideas? Try this Fig Jam & Smoked Gouda Grilled Cheese.