Monday, December 5, 2011

RECIPE: Italian Veggie Sandwich

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This year an Italian restaurant opened in our town. 

The food is amazing.  The ingredients are always fresh.  They make delicious calzones, pizza, pasta, salads, and bread.  All the food is prepared to order, instead of sitting around getting stale. The menu is spectacular.  They have the best Italian food in the region.

But the restaurant has its problems. 

First of all, the hours and days they are open changes every few weeks.  Sometimes they serve lunch.  Sometimes they don't.  Sometimes the restaurant is closed with no notice.  Sometimes they run out of food.  The kitchen is tiny, so they can only make an order at a time. 

The last time we ordered takeout there, it took 2 1/2 hours and they didn't give us a warning.  The worst part was that they kept pushing our food back to accomodate the customers eating in.  We didn't even get an apology.

This isn't the first time it has happened to us, but we are making sure it is the last.

Since we miss their food, I am trying to create recipes from the food we eat there.  One of their specialties is chicken florentine, which I modified to make Penne Florentine.  I used our favorite sandwich as the inspiration for this recipe.

The combination of the fresh vegetables with artichokes, mushrooms, and black olives creates a satisfying crunch and a hearty bite.  The pesto mayo adds a little kick, while the balsamic vinegar and olive oil moisten the bread with a slight sour taste.

I didn't list specific amounts for each ingredient.  How you build this filling sandwich is your adventure.

 First, I mixed up the pesto mayo.
 The concave cutting board and shape of my Ulu knife
makes it easier to cut round fruits and vegetables.
 Next, I spread the pesto mayo on the two small loaves
of Garlic-Cheese No-Knead Bread.
I layered on reduced-fat smoked provolone and fresh spinach.
Then, came the red onions.
(I think my 4 month-old started crying at this point,
because I stopped taking pictures.)
I loaded these sandwiches so much the veggies spilled out!



*Bread of your choice
*Pesto mayo (Recipe below)
*Reduced-fat sliced smoked provolone
*Fresh baby spinach
*Can of quartered artichokes
*Sliced white mushrooms
*Sliced red onion
*Sliced black olives
*Sliced or diced tomatoes
*Balsamic vinegar
*Olive oil


1.  Spread pesto mayo on bread.  Layer provolone, spinach, artichokes, mushrooms, onions, olives, and tomatoes as desired.
2.  Drizzle desired amounts of balsamic vinegar and olive oil on bread and veggies.
3.  Serve immediately.



*1/2 c. olive oil mayo or light mayo
*1 tsp. basil pesto
*1 tsp. lemon juice


*Mix all ingredients thoroughly.  Refrigerate and use within 5 days.

Have you ever had a restaurant fail you? 
Do you have a recipe inspired by your favorite menu item?

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