Easy Pizza Panini
School is back in session. If you’ve got children, this usually means you have way less time than during breaks. Especially time for cooking! And if you have kids in sports – FORGET IT. Except there are so many super easy meals like this one that let you save face with the family, make you feel like you really DID something, and yet make so little mess and take so little time, it’s almost like not cooking at all. YAY FOR NOT COOKING AT ALL WHEN YOU ARE BUSY! And if you’re childless, which I used to be (OMG THE GLORY DAYS), you are still busy! There are always days and nights where you are starving half to death, yet still courting extreme resistance to both cooking and going out to eat.
I’m obsessed with my panini press. I know, I know, “obsessed” is getting so overused these days. Which is why I only use it when I really mean it. Like … I’ll tell you something that may or may not leave you thinking “what the heck, crazy lady.” But maybe, just maybe, you’ll be all “Here! She is my people!” I spent two Saturdays shoving every food I could think of in my panini press, just to see if it would work out. I definitely had some fails, but some – like this pizza panini – were a complete win! Ready? Ok, LET’S DO THIS!
- Store-bought premade pizza crust. You know, the ones hanging toward the end cap on the condiments aisle? The ones that you literally have to do nothing to, except heat them up? Yeah. Those ones.
- Pre-sliced deli cheese
- Large pepperoni slices (typically available in the deli section, where they have the big meats ready to slice)
- Real Butter
- Any marinara sauce you like Easy, right? Yes!
- Open up the pizza crust and if necessary, trim it down to fit inside your panini press. I like to cut this one into rectangular slices to facilitate easier dipping. If you don’t have a panini press, then let step one become OBTAIN PANINI PRESS. You won’t be sorry.
- Slather a thin skin of butter on one side of each piece of crust. Use butter, like actual butter. Not vegetable spread. Not any other rando thing. Butter. I use unsalted, well, because it’s versatile and I’m a control freak, even when it comes to the amount of salt in my food.
- Layer cheese, pepperoni slices, then cheese again. Depending on what you bought, you may need to trim the pepperoni and cheese down to fit your slices. Easy as pie.
- Place another piece of crust on top. You want both pieces of the crust to have butter on the outside, so that the buttered side comes in contact with the sweet sweet magic of the panini plate.
- Follow your particular model’s instructions for pre-heating. When hot, place your pizza sandwich in there and gently lower the lid. In my press, it takes about 4 minutes to have a hot, grill marked, lovely, crunchy slice of heaven.
Carefully remove the sandwich from the press and serve with a side cup of marinara sauce for dipping. We’re dippers in this house. If you’re a non-dipper, you just get out of here right now. Kidding. Obviously you’re welcome to stay, just know I’ll be giving you the stink eye while I dip to my heart’s content. I’m lying, I totally don’t care. I just like to talk tough.
Do you SEE the grill marks? The glorious spots where the butter has crisped the pizza crust to pure unadulterated taste budly happiness? That does not happen with vegetable spread, people. Know how I know? I’ll go on ahead and direct you back to earlier when I told the gripping tale of spending two Saturdays shoving everything under the sun into the press. I tried them all … Kerrygold does the best, but use what you like as long as it’s genuine butter. If you like this recipe, and how could you not, pin it for later! Pinning makes my heart tingle and my happiness levels increase like a zillion. So pinning is actually like philanthropy on your part. You could go to work tomorrow and be all “Hey coworkers, I was doing awesome charitable works last night. Giving of myself and bringing delirious happiness to total strangers. No big deal. Oh, you binge watched Netflix? That’s cool, too.” Or, you know, use your own words.