Panini Sunday: Capicola and broccoli rappi pesto paninis

2013-03-24 at 17-21-08It started here while I was browsing through the April issue of Bon Appetit. I’ve made traditional basil pesto, sundried tomato pesto, kale pesto and cilantro pesto. The idea of grinding broccoli rappi down into a creamy paste, let alone spreading it on a sandwich, had never occurred to me. But, the process that BA outlined seemed a little…drawn out. I couldn’t see blanching and sauteeing. The best part of pesto is that it hasn’t been cooked down and starved of its flavo and that you can taste the ingredients.

So, what if we skipped that part and just ran the rappi through a food processor as if it were basil?

2013-03-24 at 17-07-33For starters, one of the things that blanching does is reduce the size of the leaves and stems. (Side note: My food processor and blender died at nearly the same time. I opted for a Cuisinart two-in-one. Bad move. The motor is cheap and loud, the blender is terrible and the food processor bowl is far too small.) It’s impossible to cram a bunch of rappi into the bowl of even the largest food processor and expect good results. I had to chop this down in batches, using olive oil to keep things moving. By the time I added all of the ingredients, the bowl was loaded to the top. A little dicey, but it worked.

WHAT WORKED: The honey used in the pesto. It took some of the edge off the bitter greens.

WHAT DIDN’T: The cheese. I opted for fresh mozzarella, which I thought would be less greasy than provolone. I was wrong. I’m not sure you can make this less greasy and still have cheese involved.

WHAT DID THE WIFE SAY: After raving about it, she was complaining about a stomachache a little later. It was my clue that the sandwich had too much grease. The Wife’s stomach is not what I would call lead lined.

WILL IT MAKE ANOTHER APPEARANCE: Maybe. We will see the pesto used in another dinner this week. The recipe enough for about 12 sandwiches.

2013-03-24 at 17-27-38Capiccola and broccoli rappi pesto paninis
Adapted from Bon Appetit

  • 2 oz. pine nuts
  • 1 pound broccoli rappi, coarsely chopped and stems discarded
  • Kosher salt
  • 6 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Pecorino
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 4 slices country-style bread
  • 8 oz. fresh mozzarella, sliced thin
  • 1/3 lb. sweet capicola, sliced thin

2013-03-24 at 17-08-26Heat a small skillet over medium heat and add the pine nuts. Toss frequently with a wooden spoon and toast, approximately 5 minutes or until aromatic.

Combine broccoli rappi, garlic and oil in a food processor (working in bunches if necessary) and pulse until smooth. Add grated cheese, honey and pine nuts. Pulse until completely smooth.

2013-03-24 at 17-19-06Build sandwiches with bread, provolone, capicola, and broccoli rappi pesto. Brush bread with thin layer of olive oil and add to panini grill. Cook 6 to 8 minutes until cheese is melted and bread is browned.

2013-03-24 at 17-18-17

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