Mr. Food: Panini

Fire up the grill! The gourmet guru has a tasty sandwich recipe that is hearty enough for lunch and dinner. Let's chomp down with Mr. Food.

The Panini, which is Italian for "sandwich," is fast becoming one of the trendiest grilled sandwiches around. It's sort of Italy's answer to a grown-up grilled cheese, and even more than that, and has it ever caught on in our restaurants and cafés!

The bread can be any hearty type: Italian, French, multi-grain, Focaccia. In fact, we can even use baguettes. The fillings are usually a combo of thinly sliced meats and cheeses, and the more varied, the better like Gouda, Swiss or smoked cheese, even spread on some goat cheese, for example.

The veggies could be artichokes, roasted peppers and sun-dried tomatoes.

Want more crunch and flavor? A few thin slices of apples or chopped nuts will do that. Spreads? They can be pesto, Dijon mustard or Italian Bruschetta, and when we're ready, we can grill them in a skillet using a cast iron press like this, but the easiest way to cook them is in a Panini maker.

In fact, we've got a few here that also do double and triple duty as indoor grills for our other favorites like burgers and chicken, that stuff.

Most of them have non-stick ridged surfaces and removable grill pans for easy cleanup.

Choose the one that's right for you and, in just minutes, you've got a hot and hearty Panini sandwich that would do any fancy café proud! So if you want to be an up-to-the-minute homemade trendsetter, make a Panini, it's truly an Italian “ah émolto bene!” In English, "ooh it's so good!!®"