This summery sandwich has a delicate flavor that is terrific for a light lunch or dinner. You can make your own variations by adding sweet peppers, baby spinach, smoked turkey or ham, or using sundried tomato or artichoke pesto instead of basil pesto.
Recipe: Mozzarella, Tomato and Pesto Melts
Simple and elegant sandwiches.
- 1 (2-foot long) soft baguette or 4 (6-inch) French rolls
- 1/2 lb. fresh mozzarella (often sold in deli section of supermarket or with gourmet cheeses)
- 1/4 cup pesto sauce (store-bought or see recipe below to make fresh pesto)
- 2 tomatoes, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup sweet peppers, roasted red peppers, or sliced smoked turkey or ham (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees or preheat the broiler with the oven rack at least 6 inches from the heating element. Carefully cut open the baguette or sandwich rolls, but try to avoid slicing all the way through, so the halves remain attached. On a baking sheet, toast the rolls in the oven for about 5 minutes until lightly toasted.
- Thinly slice the mozzarella cheese. Remove the bread from the oven and spread the pesto evenly on the inside bottom half of the baguette (or rolls). Top the pesto with the tomatoes (and any optional ingredients) and the cheese.
- Put each open sandwich on the baking tray with the fillings facing up, and bake it for 2-3 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the baguette is slightly browned on the edges. Cut it into smaller servings and serve it hot. (Alternatively, broil the sandwiches for 2-3 minutes).
- Tip: To make fresh pesto, in a blender or food processor, combine 2 cups tightly packed fresh basil leaves, 4 cloves chopped or minced garlic (about 2 tsp.), 1/2 cup pine nuts, 1/2 cup olive oil, 1/2 cup grated or shredded Parmesan cheese, 3/4 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. black pepper. Toss extra pesto with noodles or vegetables, use it as a dip with crackers, or freeze it for another time.