Friday, January 21, 2011

Italian sausage, grapes and gorgonzola
make a winning panini combination

My husband and I love panini.
   We make panini sandwiches with prosciutto, mozzarella and fresh basil about once a week – it’s quick to make, satisfying and delicious.
   Sometimes we try different filling combinations, usually suggested by a recipe I’ve come across.
   Sausage Panini with Grapes & Gorgonzola Dolce (click for the recipe), from Fine Cooking magazine, is just such a recipe.
   The combination of the three ingredients is perfect – and it goes perfectly with a glass of red wine.
   Gorgonzola dolce is a version of the blue cheese that is creamier, milder and sweeter than regular gorgonzola.
   However, we weren’t able to find gorgonzola dolce, either in a supermarket or a specialty cheese store.
   We opted instead for a mild gorgonzola, crumbled it up, and put it on the bread. A panini or sandwich maker, which we used, will make quick work of melting the cheese.
   The recipe calls for Italian sausage – we use mild or sweet whenever a recipe calls for this type of sausage.
   The recipe also says to use baguettes. We use special panini flatbreads we buy at one local supermarket, as we do with all panini we make.
   However, any type of panini bun, or even a submarine bun, will work if only thin baguettes can be found.
   Note that this recipe makes panini for two – if you have a larger crowd, you’ll need to increase the ingredients!
   An Italian sausage is cut in half and grilled, broiled or pan-fried (follow the cooking directions on the package).
   The baguette or bun is sliced in half, and gorgonzola is spread or sprinkled onto the bottom half. Thin slices of red grapes are pressed into the cheese, and are topped with a sausage half. The other half of the baguette or bun goes on top.
   The panini is cooked in a panini or sandwich maker, then served immediately.

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