This is one freakin' awesome sammie, that I just can't believe has not found it's way onto my blog before now! The original recipe is from Cooking Light magazine, but from the very first time I made it I mistakenly bought Fontina cheese in lieu of the Pecornino called for. Let's just say it was a brilliant mistake. I'll link to the original recipe, but since it is after all just a sandwich, will write it up as I make it with no set amounts of anything. Serve a wedge (or two!) of this yummy beast with a simple salad or a small bowl of soup and your sweetie will drool his/her thanks.
Pear, Fontina and Prosciutto Panini:
1-2 firm, ripe pears, peeled, cored, and cut into 8 wedges per pear (I used 1.5 large Bartlett pears and didn't bother peeling them)
a touch of butter
a smidge of agave nectar (or sugar)
1 fresh loaf of ciabatta bread or focaccia, cut in half horizontally
splashes of balsamic vinegar
baby arugula, or trimmed mature...calls for 1 cup, but i tend to use as much as I can get on the sandwich
slices of Fontina cheese
very thin slices prosciutto (about 4 ounces)
fresh ground black pepper
Melt butter in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add pear to pan, and sprinkle with sugar or agave nectar. Cook 2 minutes on each side or until golden.
Sprinkle cut sides of bread with vinegar to your taste (orig. recipe calls for 4 tsp). Arrange pear slices, arugula, cheese, and prosciutto evenly over bottom half of bread. Add some freshly ground black pepper and cover with top half of bread. I ended up putting cheese on both sides.
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat (I use a grill pan, or if you have a panini machine you can use that of course). Add stuffed loaf to pan. Place a cast-iron or heavy skillet on top of stuffed loaf; press gently to flatten. I use casserole dishes loaded up with all of our silverware. :-)
Cook 4 minutes on each side or until bread is toasted (leave cast-iron skillet on stuffed loaf while it cooks). Cut into nice big slices and mangia!