It took us so long to complete the description for our Tostapane Panini maker because every time we wrote "take 2 slices of delicious Italian bread - use a beautiful slice of prosciutto, maybe mozzarella, some fresh basil between them - brush the outside of the bread lightly with extra virgin olive oil" we got so hungry that we stopped and rushed to the kitchen.
Now finally after (too many) absolute delicious authentic Italian panini's, we actually try to overcome the temptation and finish this.
The Tostapane panini maker is a perfect example of the fact that you simply should not monkey around with fantastic basic products that worked for generation and don't need any "modern improvements". If it comes to flavor, texture, and taste, there is simply nothing better than preparing your Italian panini on the open flame of either your gas stove or your grill.
Once we received the first shipment of the Tostapane we, of course, felt obligated to "test" the product as many times and with as many different food variations as possible. (Hey - you can't blame us for being thorough - right?). Anyway - we soon found out that everyone had his and her very own definition about what a "true" Italian Panini is and we finally settle our "professional" dispute with the compromise that everyone can simply put on their Panini whatever they like best.
So no rules about what should be on your Panini except that we found a few thinks that simply make the Panini in general better:
You might not want to use very soft bread as a base. We found that the results in regards to texture and crust are much better if you use a better artisan bread. If the size of your artisan bread fits into the tostapane - even better - this way you can also enjoy the beautiful crust of the bread. If they are slightly too large, simply cut them in shape to fit into the tostapane. This way you will have a very nice texture and crust that truly enhances the flavor of your panini. One more thing that should be rather obvious is that fresh simply tastes better. There is nothing sexier if it comes to food then fresh & simple ingredients. Whether it is your favorite slice of ham, prosciutto, salami, pancetta, mortadella, gorgonzola, pecorino, taleggio, mozzarella, asiago or delicious vegetables such as onions, tomato, mushroom, artichokes = fresh simply tastes better.
How to make a panini? That's actually the easy part once you decided what you like on your panini:
Simply use two slices of crusty artisan bread and cut them (if needed) so they fit into the tostapane - brush the outside of the bread with either some olive oil (gives it a really nice flavor) or some butter - put whatever you like in-between your slices (you might not want to go too crazy on the quantity since you still want to be able to close it) - place your "master-piece" into the tostapane and close & lock - Place the tostapane on the open flame of your gas stove or grill. You want to turn the tostapane several times in the process to make sure the bread becomes gently and evenly brown on each side.
Time-wise = cook with your senses. Meaning smell and look. One of the great things about preparing your panini this way is that you will smell the aroma and in case you are using cheese in your panini you will also see some melting going on. So you actually might want to be done as long as you can still call it "Aroma" and before your cheese drips all over your stove. In any way, the process only takes a few minutes and the bread heats up rather quickly. So stay with it and make sure to turn it a few times.
We absolutely love this little thing. It is as easy as making a grilled cheese sandwich but with so much more emotions, flavors, and variations. The entire process simply puts your kitchen right in the middle of Tuscany (even if it is just for a few minutes) and we found that the flavor due to the open-fire preparation definitely beats any other way that we have tried so far.
- sturdy construction
- 18/10 stainless steel
- for use on gas stove
- perfect to prepare delicious toasted sandwichs
- dishwasher safe
- hand-made in Ferrara, Italy