Remember going grocery shopping with your parents as a kid? Remember the pain and torture of walking through a store and not getting any of the foods you wanted? Remember how you would take your allowance and tell your parents that you would pay for a diabetes-inducing cereal with zero nutritional value or a hunk of candy that would rot your teeth?
It was the same in our house, but instead of breakfast food or candy bars, I begged for prosciutto. (SIDE NOTE: As I look back, it is less of a wonder as to why I didn’t have a lot of friends or, for that matter, any girlfriends. I was too busy going face first into a deli case looking for cured Italian meats. Sigh.) Luckily, my parents were more concerned with sugary cereals than salt or fat intake, so there was little arm-twisting in that department. (SIDE NOTE: The working title of my first book is called “Obesity: The Paventi family business.”)
WHAT WORKED: The complementary nature of the ingredients. There was sweetness from the tomatoes, salty from the prosciutto, a little spice from the spinach and creaminess from the cheese. It all worked quite nicely.
WHAT DIDN’T: Even when you press the spinach to push out all of the water, you still run the risk of the sandwiches getting soggy. This might actually work better on a piece of crusty bread than, say, a pita.
WHAT DID THE WIFE SAY: She was quite pleased with the way it turned out.
WILL IT MAKE ANOTHER APPEARANCE: Probably. Anything to justify buying prosciutto. But, I might try it on bread instead.
Prosciutto, fontina & sun-dried tomato pitanini
Adapted from Fine Cooking
- 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 medium cloves garlic, smashed
- 6 oz. baby spinach
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 1/4 cups grated fontina cheese
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
- 6 oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes or roasted tomatoes, drained and chopped
- Three 7- to 8-inch pitas, each sliced in half
- 6 very thin slices prosciutto, preferably imported (about 4 oz.)
Preheat your panini grill per the manufacturer’s instructions.
Heat the oil and garlic in a 10-inch heavy-duty skillet over medium-high heat until the garlic starts to sizzle steadily and browns in places, about 2 minutes. Add the spinach, sprinkle with 1/4 tsp. each salt and pepper, and cook, tossing, until just wilted, about 2 minutes. Transfer the spinach to a colander. Let cool a couple of minutes, discard the garlic, and gently squeeze out the excess liquid from the spinach.
In a medium bowl, toss the spinach with the fontina, parmigiano, sun-dried tomatoes, and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Set 3 of the pita halves on a work space and top each with 2 slices of the prosciutto. Top each evenly with the spinach mixture and set the remaining 3 pita halves on top.
Transfer the sandwiches to the panini grill and cook eight minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the pita is well-toasted.