Easy Italian Grilled Sandwiches

crispy pressed italian sandwiches on ciabatta
Photo: Con Poulos
Prep Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 55 mins

Assemble this muffuletta-inspired pressed sandwich late-morning, then wrap it in foil and put it under a heavy skillet for at least an hour to let the flavors meld. After a spell on the grill or in the oven to melt the cheese, simply cut and pass the panini around the table.


  • 1 loaf ciabatta (1 pound)

  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing

  • ½ cup olive tapenade

  • 4 ounces sliced provolone

  • 8 ounces low-moisture mozzarella (such as Polly-O), thinly sliced

  • 1 cup thinly sliced roasted red peppers

  • 1 jar (12 ounces) marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped

  • 4 ounces thinly sliced spicy salami

  • 2 cups baby arugula


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Split bread horizontally; scoop out soft interior and reserve for croutons or breadcrumbs (see cook's note). Brush inside of each bread half with oil. Bake, cut-side up, until toasted, about 7 minutes. Let cool completely. Spread tapenade on bottom half of bread; add provolone and mozzarella. Top with peppers, artichokes, and salami. Scatter top with arugula. Top with other bread half; press to sandwich.

  2. Wrap tightly with foil. Place a heavy skillet on top; weigh down with canned goods. Refrigerate at least 1 hour and up to 8 hours.

  3. Preheat a grill to medium, or oven to 375°F. Transfer wrapped sandwich to grill and cover (or transfer to oven); cook, flipping once, until cheese begins to melt and bread is crisp, about 20 minutes. Remove foil, slice, and serve.

Cook's Notes

To make cheesy croutons from the scooped-out bread, tear it into one-inch pieces and toss with two tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil and one tablespoon grated Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper and bake at 375°F until golden and crisp, about 15 minutes.

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