This Oven Roasted Tomato and Pesto Panini is easy and takes advantage of your late summer garden bounty!
Are we in melty sandwich mode yet?
I kind of think of melty sandwiches as a cold weather food, but when pesto is this good and fresh, we just have to do it, right? Add in fresh from the garden tomatoes and we’re really onto something.
Every year I think I’m going to have a garden and every year it goes a little… meh. This year we moved the garden because it wasn’t quite getting enough sun in it’s previous, otherwise perfect location. I started tomato seeds inside in April, using the seeds I bought last year, because I’m kind of a cheap-o chump like that. Turns out seeds aren’t always good for years, and all I got were a bunch of cherry tomato plants instead of a mix of cherry, roma, and beefsteak/heirloom.
While an abundance of cherry tomatoes is not a problem, I have other tomato needs. Like this Oven Roasted Tomato and Pesto Panini, which slow roasts roma tomatoes into pure summer candy. That slow roasting (it doesn’t really take that long, I promise!) is a magical process that makes the tomatoes a little chewy, a little savory, and a lot delicious.
Pair those rosy little gems with summer’s freshest pesto and a lot of melty cheese and crusty bread and you maybe have not the healthiest dinner but definitely the best. Add a side salad for that true fancy sandwich shop feel.
This Oven Roasted Tomato and Pesto Panini can be totally customized! Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Go store-bought with your pesto if you don’t want to make it yourself
- Use your favorite crusty bread if you’re not into ciabatta
- Toss the tomatoes on an easy salad for a gluten-free vegan option
- Add in grilled chicken breast or shrimp if that’s your kind of thing
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- 3 roma tomatoes ends removed, sliced 1/4” thick
- Olive oil
- Coarse kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2-3 cloves garlic crushed
- 4 sandwich sized chunks of ciabatta bread cut in half horizontally
- 1/2 cup pesto
- 4 slices mozzarella cheese
- 4 slices provolone cheese
Preheat the oven to 325ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and arrange the tomato slices in an even layer. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and sprinkle evenly with the crushed garlic. Bake until the tomatoes have released a lot of their moisture and are beginning to brown slightly, about 65 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat a panini press to medium high. Spread the inside of all the bread with pesto, then place one slice of mozzarella on the bottom piece of bread, add 4-6 tomato slices, and top with one one slice of provolone. Replace the top piece of bread and grill sandwiches, in batches if necessary, until crusty and melted, about 5 minutes.