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Easy Panini With Provolone, Peppers, and Arugula Recipe

Our take on a classic sandwich that's crispier, lighter, healthier, and equally delicious.
Easy Panini With Provolone, Peppers, and Arugula RecipeMitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Philadelphians are justly proud of their robust sandwich culture. Sure, there’s the eponymous cheesesteak, but there’s also the roast pork, the scrapple and egg, and, of course, the inimitable Italian hoagie. Typically, this last sandwich contains three or four different cuts of Italian-style meats plus provolone, some roughage, and oil and vinegar, all tucked into a massive squishy hoagie roll. Damage? About 1,000 calories. And the restaurant chains that imitate this sandwich essentially inflict similar damage upon their customers with their version.

Our take features the same classic flavors of the Italian sandwich, but turns it into a crispy, melted panini. We promise you won’t miss the bulky bread, the mound of meat, or the excess 600 calories.

Nutrition: 350 calories, 12 g fat (4 g saturated), 1,010 mg sodium

Serves 4

You’ll Need

8 slices sourdough bread
4 slices provolone
1⁄2  red onion, very thinly sliced
1⁄2  cup roasted red pepper
4 cups arugula
8 slices reduced-fat spicy salami
8 oz sliced ham
1 Tbsp olive oil

How to Make It

  1. Lay four slices of bread on a cutting board. Cover each with a provolone slice, then top with onion, peppers, and arugula.
  2. Layer the salami and ham over the arugula and top with the remaining four slices of bread.
  3. Heat half the oil in a grill pan or large cast-iron skillet over medium-low heat (naturally, if you’re fortunate enough to have a panini press, use that).
  4. Add the sandwiches, being careful not to crowd, and use something to weigh them down (if cooking individually, a tea kettle partly filled with water works nicely; if cooking together, a few cans in a large pasta pot will do the trick).
  5. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until the bottoms have toasted nicely and the cheese has begun to melt.
  6. Remove the weight, flip, reapply the weight, and cook for another 3 to 4 minutes.
  7. Cut the sandwiches on the diagonal and serve with a small salad or soup.

Eat This Tip

Here are two other panini recipes you’ll want to try as well:

  • Layer thinly sliced chicken on the bottom of the sandwich, cover in marinara, then top with grated mozzarella and fresh basil leaves.
  • Make a Cubano: Layer leftover pork with a slice of ham, plus Swiss, pickles, and a good swipe of Dijon mustard.

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