Apulia Panini Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Inspired by his travels in the beautiful region of Apulia (the “Heel of the Boot”) in Southern Italy, chef Michael Howell from the Tempest Restaurant in Wolfville, Nova Scotia, created this flavour-packed grilled Panini which will make you dream of La Dolce Vita. Serve with a side of mixed olives and a glass of Limonata (sparkling Italian lemonade).

Apulia Panini Grilled Cheese SandwichPhoto: Shutterstock
Servings Prep Time Cook Time Passive Time
1 30minutes 5 to 7minutes 30minutes
Servings Prep Time
1 30minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
5 to 7minutes 30minutes
Sun Dried Tomato Compote
  1. In a bowl, combine tomatoes and enough hot water to cover; let sit for 30 minutes; drain, reserving 4 tsp (20 ml) of the soaking water. In a food processor, combine tomatoes, tomato oil, reserved soaking water and garlic; process until coarsely chopped. Transfer to a bowl.
  1. In a food processor, puree olives, oil and water, until smooth; transfer to a bowl.
  1. In a clean food processor bowl, combine arugula, walnuts, oil and garlic; process until smooth. Add Parmesan; pulse to combine. Preheat Panini press to medium.
  1. Spread both slices of the bread to taste with sundried tomato compote and olive tapenade. Top evenly with cheese slices and spoon generous dollops of pesto. Press the slices together and butter the outside.
  2. Place sandwich on Panini press and grill 5 to 7 minutes or until cheese is melted and bread is crispy.
  3. * Bread: Trim ends of unsliced bread to make approximately a 5-inch (12.5 cm) square. Slice crosswise into ¾-inch (2 cm) thick slices.
Recipe Notes

Make the tapenade, sundried tomato compote and pesto up to three days ahead; store covered in the refrigerator.

Toss remaining pesto with hot cooked pasta and top with shaved Canadian Parmesan cheese.