I am so glad to be participating with Sunday Supper again after a 7 month hiatus. When I saw that this week’s theme was Italian Fest, I knew I picked the right week to make my return. Italian food is my passion and brings so much joy to my life. While I was trying to decide what to feature as a recipe, I was torn. There are so many dishes that I love but lately I have been thinking about a chicken pesto sandwich that I fell in love with back in the late 90’s in my hometown of San Jose, CA. While it has been at least 15 years since I have had it, this sandwich left such an impression on me that I have been trying to recreate it for years.
The place….Cafe Primavera. My first experience was something I will never forget. Cafe Primavera had just opened a small location in the office building where I worked. One afternoon I popped in to grab a bite to eat and chose their chicken pesto sandwich. One bite and my life changed forever. Tender, grilled chicken, pesto aioli, melted Fontina, bacon and tomato on delicious bread, I was hooked. In fact, I loved this sandwich so much that I had it almost every day.
While I can’t recreate perfection, I can pay tribute. I created my own version of this masterpiece and while it is not an exact replica, it is pretty darn close. They key ingredient in this is the pesto, which is something I have a hard time writing a recipe for, as I just make it according to my taste buds. I take fresh basil leaves, garlic cloves, lots of fresh basil, fresh grated parmigiano reggiano, pine nuts and extra virgin olive oil and I combine in a food processor. When it is ready, you will know. There are a few substitutions you can make such as walnuts or pistachio in place of pine nuts but this is the classic way and will always be my favorite.
This sandwich is great on so many occasions such as an easy weekday dinner or an outdoor BBQ. Add bacon and a fried egg and serve for Sunday brunch. Pair with a nice glass of prosecco and some oven roasted potatoes and you have a fantastic meal.
I hope you enjoy this sandwich and I would love to hear your feedback. Be sure to check out all the fantastic Italian inspired recipes below. Mangia bene and have an amazing Sunday.
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, seasoned and grilled
- 4 tomato slices (you can use any tomato you like, heirloom are a favorite of mine)
- 4 slices Fontina cheese
- 2 TBS pesto (homemade or store bought)
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 8 slices sourdough bread (or bread of your choice)
- Season, marinate and grill your chicken breasts. This is the fun part in that you can get creative and fun with your chicken. I simply drizzled mine with olive oil, salt and pepper and grilled on an indoor grill pan.
- Heat up a panini press if you have one or use your grill/indoor grill pan. (I borrowed a panini press for this particular recipe)
- Smother two pieces of bread (I used sourdough) with pesto. Take one piece and place the chicken breast on top. Layer with two slices of tomato, a piece of Fontina cheese and more pesto. Place the second slice of bread on top and place on your panini press. (If using a grill, place sandwich over open flame and grill until cheese begins to melt, then flip over).
- Grill with panini press until cheese melts. (If using an outdoor or indoor grill, flip once cheese melts and grill to your liking). Remove from grill and serve. Enjoy!
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And Artichoke Torta plus More Recipes for Italian Fest from Sunday Supper MovementPin It