This Italian Grilled Chicken Panini Sandwich presses seasoned chicken breast, melted provolone cheese, basil pesto, crushed tomato sauce, and spinach in between buttery sourdough bread for the perfect meal --- almost as if you took a quick field trip to a small Italian sandwich shop.
Let me start off by saying there aren't many things on earth that are better than eating buttery toasted bread paired with melted cheese. One of the first things I learned as a kid is how to make grilled cheese sandwiches - and the idea of the panini - well, that took this childhood classic to new heights.
From what I know, the panini sandwich idea became trendy around the 16th century by way of an Italian cookbook and caught the hearts of American foodies in the mid-1970s. There are several different types of panini sandwiches available, but I wanted to create my version of the Italian Grilled Chicken Panini.
How to Make the Grilled Chicken Panini Sandwich:
The type of bread you can use for this sandwich can range from focaccia to ciabatta, but I choose to go with fresh sourdough for this recipe. Buttery toasted sourdough is a personal favorite and teaming that with fresh provolone cheese (and more provolone cheese) had me sold before I even got started.
You'll want to start with your tomato sauce. I never use tomato sauce as-is and taking it up a notch is always my way. For the sauce, you'll blend (and cook) crushed tomatoes, parmesan cheese, red pepper flakes, and oregano for 5 minutes. This will be used as your create your sandwich.
Butterfly your chicken breast and season each side with sea salt, black pepper, oregano, and paprika. Cook for 4 minutes on each side. When the chicken is ready, it's time to slice and layer the chicken breast with cheese and those flavorful crushed tomatoes.
Add your basil pesto to one side of the sourdough bread spreading evenly. The basil pesto really helped harmonize all of the flavors and once you take this baby off of the panini grill the aroma will hit you immediately.
Top pesto with 2 slices of provolone cheese, layer crushed tomatoes, chicken breast, 2 more slices of provolone cheese, and fresh spinach. Top the spinach leaf off with 2 more slices of provolone cheese and butter the outside of the sourdough bread.
This sandwich is easy to make and is perfect for lunch when a traditional sandwich just won't do.
Check out my other tasty sandwich recipes:
- Italian Meatball Sub Sandwich
- Chicken Parmesan Sandwich
- Crispy BBQ Chicken Strip Sandwich
- Crispy “Ritz” Fried Fish Sandwich
- Brisket Grilled Cheese Sandwich