Italian Sausage and Red Pepper Pesto Panini

About twice a month I’m met with the “I don’t want to cook” flu. It’s usually accompanied by a strain of the “need to go to the grocery store” virus. There are two popular remedies to this illness: 1) date night out and 2) go to the store on the way home from work.  With this recipe, I’ve discovered a new antibiotic! Take what you have and make a sandwich.

In asking Stuart what he wanted for dinner he actually had an answer other than my favorite “I don’t know”. He wanted a panini. So I hit the web and found one that looked good. I shared the recipe and was given the vote of approval… along with the question, “Do we have what we need?” My answer, “ Um, we have bread.  And maybe cheese?” Instead of getting discouraged I read her blog post and thought, I could do that! (She utilized ingredients from her pantry/fridge to create her masterpiece.)

I used my engineering degree in the kitchen once again and improvised a panini maker. I slathered some butter on the outside of the sandwich and treated it like a grilled cheese. Except instead of using a skillet, I used my indoor grill pan. Taking the flat top of a saucepan, I pressed the sandwich. After achieving those traditional grill marks I flipped it over and repeated the process. The result – a beautiful panini fake out.

Italian Sausage and Red Pepper Pesto Panini


  • 4 slices of bread
  • butter, for spreading
  • 2 tbsp red pepper pesto
  • 2 links hot Italian sausage, sliced into medallions
  • 2 slices white American cheese
  • kale


  1. In a small skillet, cook sausage.
  2. Assemble sandwiches: Spread butter on all pieces of bread. On the opposite side of butter spread pesto on 2 of the slices. Top with sausage, kale, and cheese. Top with other slice of bread, butter side out.
  3. Press in panini maker or follow my method described above.

Fake Out Panini

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