We love hot panini of any kind, but this homemade version of our favorite Panera Bread panini is extra-special. Smoky shredded chicken, melty mozzarella, and juicy tomatoes are pressed between focaccia to create a sandwich that’s crispy-crunchy on the outside, and soft and warm in the middle. Lunchtime heaven.
Do you need a panini press to make panini? Absolutely not. Placing a heavy pan on top of the sandwich while it’s toasting in another pan will do the trick. We prefer a cast-iron skillet since it’s heavy enough to provide the perfect even pressure to the sandwich without completely flattening it. You won’t have those parallel lines, but you will have an evenly pressed sandwich. And let’s be honest, when you’re biting into that beautiful crunchy focaccia, do you really care what it looks like?
Lunch time can be busy, even if you’re working from home, so do yourself a favor and make the chipotle mayo ahead of time: It’ll keep in the fridge for up to 7 days. You can even shorten your prep time by buying a rotisserie chicken on the weekend, shredding the meat, and storing it in a container in your refrigerator. That way, you’ll be only minutes away from panini bliss.
Made this? Let us know how it went in the comments below.
Prep Time: 10 mins
Total Time: 25 mins
chipotle chile in adobo, finely chopped, plus 2 tsp. adobo sauce
kosher salt, plus more
freshly ground black pepper, plus more
shredded rotisserie chicken breast
(4 "x4") slices focaccia, halved horizontally
fresh basil leaves
mozzarella, room temperature, sliced 1/4" thick
vine-ripened tomato, sliced 1/4" thick
red onion, thinly sliced
extra-virgin olive oil