Chicken Pesto Panini

Panini, panino. Plablini, plablino. Let’s call the whole thing off.

Guess who’s late to the “getting the actual word right” party? Yeppers. But it’s not my fault! I couldn’t find a cab and it was raining and blah blah BLAH.

I’m not kidding when I say that not even 200 days ago, I didn’t know that the Italian word “panini” is actually the plural form of the word “panino.”

So I’m sure you can imagine my confusion when a conversation with my deary poo Carrie went down like this:


Her, “I’m hungry. You hungry? Wanna get something to eat?”

Me, “If we don’t eat something right now, monkeys will fly out of my head. Yes. We’re eating.”


Her, “Cool! What do you feel like? Something light? Like a soup and salad kinda thang?”

Me, “Ya know, I’m actually more in the mood for a panini. Does that sound good to you?”


Her, “You mean panino? Or are you wanting to eat multiple? Ha!”

Me, “Wait, what about Al Pacino? And der, I could probably eat like 20 right now. Hold on, is this a dare? Because I DO LIKE A GOOD DARE. Just let me braid my hair real quick.”


Her, “No, no, I’m just telling you that what you’re really wanting to eat is a panino, not multiple panini.”

Me, “Well I guess we could eat in a casino. And don’t you mean multiple paninis? Okay I might need a drink.”


Her, “BEV, listen. What I’m simply saying is that PANINO is singular for PANINI. It’s not PANINIS. And I’m joining you for that drink. Sheesh, woman.”

Me, “Okay A) Put down the machete. B) Fine, Paninoniniononino. Consider me learnt! and C) So if I suggest VINO are you going to tell me it’s actually VINI? Because you know I can only learn something new once a month. And does this mean the dare’s off? Because my hair braided is actually really cute. I just need to know now…”

And that is the story of how Carrie and I never ate lunch together because she got sick of me and dropped me down a water well, never to be seen or heard from again.

I’m sure those paninis would have been really delicious though. I MEAN PANINI. CRAP! PANINI.

Chicken Pesto Panini:

What it took for 2 Panini:

For the Chicken Marinade:

* 1 lemon
* 1 Tbs. Dijon mustard
* 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
* 1 pinch of coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
* 3 chicken breast halves

For the Pesto:

* 4 cups arugula
* 1/2 cup toasted walnuts
* 3 cloves garlic, chopped
* 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
* 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
* 1 pinch coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

For the Rest:

* 1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
* 1/2 bunch asparagus, ends trimmed
* 2 10-inch artisan french baguettes, sliced in half lengthwise
* 2 roasted red peppers (from a jar) sliced into strips
* 1 cup shredded mozzarella (or fresh would be even better!)

Whisk the marinade ingredients together in a bowl and add the chicken. Toss to coat, cover and stick in the fridge for at least an hour and up to 4.

In a food processor, combine the arugula, walnuts, garlic, cheese, salt and pepper. With the motor running, add the oil in a thin stream until you get pesto.

Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Add the asparagus and boil 2 minutes, until bright green. Transfer to a bowl with ice water to stop the cooking. You just blanched!

Heat an indoor (or outdoor!) grill to a medium heat and brush with oil. Add the chicken and grill until cooked through with nice grill marks on both sides, 10 minutes total. Remove from heat, cover and let rest about 5 minutes. Slice chicken into strips.

Spread the pesto on the bottom half of each baguette. Arrange the chicken slices on top of the pesto. Follow with strips of roasted red pepper, asparagus and lots of good mozzarella. Top with baguette lid. Is lid right? That’s not right.

Place the panini on the grill and press it down with something really heavy. I used my Les Creuset, ha! I really did though. Once the cheese starts to melt and you see grill marks on the bottom, flip, press and finish grilling.

Slice on a diagonal and you just dunnnn knuuuuuuh.


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41 Responses to Chicken Pesto Panini

  1. Natalie @ Cooking for My Kids February 29, 2012 at 2:07 pm #
    Oh, Bev, I just love your posts. Seriously. Love. Like, it is not right to be so excited when I see your new posts in my inbox. And, you taught me a new word today, too...if only I can remember it. I am very busy this morning, after all. This panini looks amazing!
  2. Kay February 29, 2012 at 2:08 pm #
    Bev, this looks so good it has me drilling all over my computer.
  3. Kathryn February 29, 2012 at 2:30 pm #
    Even though I know panini is plural and my grammar-loving heart should strive to get it right, I never do. Sad times.
  4. Gina @ Running to the Kitchen February 29, 2012 at 2:30 pm #
    So what does it say about me that I technically know that but still refuse to call it anything other than a panini even when it should be singular? Stubborn is probably the word my husband would choose. :) This is a lunch on steroids, love it. Especially with that arugula pesto. I've been a tad bit obsessed with that stuff lately.
  5. Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga February 29, 2012 at 2:36 pm #
    Ok now THAT'S a looks great. Makes me want to run out and buy a panini press! Or just get you to make it for me :)
  6. kelsey February 29, 2012 at 2:51 pm #
    YUM. i need that in my belly now.
  7. Laurie {Simply Scratch} February 29, 2012 at 2:55 pm #
    Paninis... HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA! Love you Bev {and your paninis too!}
  8. Heather (Heather's Dish) February 29, 2012 at 3:07 pm #
    I love that there's asparagus on these bad boys!
  9. Lauren February 29, 2012 at 3:09 pm #
    I need 14 of these delivered to my yesterday.
  10. Cookbook Queen February 29, 2012 at 3:17 pm #
    Panino? That just doesn't sound right. And please make her let you out of that water well. I need you around so you can keep making yummy stuff like this!!
  11. Stephanie Wise February 29, 2012 at 3:28 pm #
    OMG. So. Much. Yumness. Can't wait to try this recipe!
  12. Julie @ Table for Two February 29, 2012 at 3:32 pm #
    I made something like this a few weeks ago and mine did NOT look like yours. Holy crap. I want to eat my screen.
  13. Vita @ Juicer Depot February 29, 2012 at 3:35 pm #
    I bought a Breville panini maker (Oprah said it was the best) and I just love it. I can't wait to try this. No more boring sandwiches!
  14. Amanda @ Once Upon a Recipe February 29, 2012 at 3:46 pm #
    Well apparently I've been making the same mistake for...forever. Thanks for setting me straight Bev! (and Carrie)
  15. Maris (In Good Taste) February 29, 2012 at 3:46 pm #
    I could eat multiple of these. Yum!
  16. Maria February 29, 2012 at 3:59 pm #
    I love panini time! Great photos, as always!
  17. Caroline @ chocolate & carrots February 29, 2012 at 4:05 pm #
    Holy crap! This looks incredible! I love the veggies all in it! Mmmm!
  18. Carrie February 29, 2012 at 4:12 pm #
    Love, love, love. I almost forgot that story ;) And this panino? It looks divinely delicious!
  19. Cassie February 29, 2012 at 4:24 pm #
    beeeautiful, my friend. Love all of these colors and arugula pesto has been my BFF lately. I want this!
  20. Emilie @ Emilie's Enjoyables February 29, 2012 at 4:28 pm #
    "panino" are the best. Shouldn't it be called a "panino" maker then?!?!
  21. Em (Wine and Butter) February 29, 2012 at 4:50 pm #
    SO basically my parents spent a ton of money (and effort because I was NOT a willing student) forcing me to have Italian lessons every Saturday morning. And I had NO idea about the panini thing. ALSO yours are so pretty I think the singular should be paninA.
  22. Noelle February 29, 2012 at 6:44 pm #
    Considering I'm half Italian and majored in English/Writing, it should really bug me that people use the wrong form of this yummy eye-talian belly yum. But you know what? It actually doesn't. I tell people the correct form, to sound all smart like that, and then I call it a panini anyway. Derp. And, I've never had arugula pesto, mainly because I'm still trying to force myself to like arugula (I'm allllmost there). Does it taste really arugula-y, or do the other flavors mellow it out? And I'm with Em--they should totally be called panina, cause that just sounds pretty.
    • Bev Weidner February 29, 2012 at 6:56 pm #
      Ohh, arugula is so good! This version will be slightly peppery-er than your standard basil or even spinach pesto. But really, feel free to switch out the arugula for whatever green you lurve. And I agree, panino smashmnino.
  23. Margarita February 29, 2012 at 7:08 pm #
    I would go for multiple paninis if it was as awesome as this!
  24. Deanna B. February 29, 2012 at 8:04 pm #
    It should definitely be called a panina. Its too pretty to be the masculine form. And arugula pesto is new to my life, but we're moving really fast. I think we'll be married in the spring.
  25. Katie February 29, 2012 at 8:19 pm #
  26. Villy @ For the love of Feeding February 29, 2012 at 8:36 pm #
    If only I could bite through that screen!
  27. marla February 29, 2012 at 11:07 pm #
    Girl, I am so happy you got this straight & taught me something too! Niiiiiiice Panino ;)
  28. bridget {bake at 350} February 29, 2012 at 11:29 pm #
    I did NOT know that! Thank YOU!!! PS...that PaninO looks incredible-o.
  29. Deborah March 1, 2012 at 4:23 pm #
    I so didn't know that. Thanks for straghtening me out, too!
  30. Maggie @ A Bitchin' Kitchen March 1, 2012 at 8:50 pm #
    Hahah...don't worry, you're not the last person to know that panini = plural paninos. Panino just sounds awkward in my opinion. I think I'll keep being grammatically incorrect :)
  31. Kathleen Richardson March 2, 2012 at 12:59 am #
    OMG, that sounds so good. Love the addition of asparagus! You're entire posting (except for the recipe, of course) was hilarious. Heigh-ho, heigh-ho, it's off to I go...
  32. Javelin Warrior March 2, 2012 at 2:57 pm #
    I've never included asparagus in a panini before, but I'm LOVING the idea now that I've seen it =) This may be the most delicious panini I've seen - and for once it's not because of the cheese! I am featuring this post in today's Friday Food Fetish roundup (with a link-back and attribution), so please let me know if you have any objections. It's always a pleasure following your food…
  33. Jenny @ Savour the Senses March 3, 2012 at 4:47 am #
    Ah this is my kind of panini! I love the addition of asparagus!
  34. Alison @ ingredients, Inc. March 5, 2012 at 2:03 pm #
    omg amazing!
  35. steff March 13, 2012 at 4:54 pm #
    Where did you find the pan you are grilling the chicken in???
    • Bev Weidner March 13, 2012 at 5:07 pm #
      I actually won it in a giveaway. But I bet you could find them at Target and Williams Sonoma!


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