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Puttanesca Panini with Crispy Fried Capers

Puttanesca Panini with Crispy Fried Capers

Susan Asanovic was a runner up in the Mezzetta Make That Sandwich Contest and her inspiration for her sandwich was the classic Italian dish, pasta puttanesca. Forget the fork, all you need is two hands to hold this prize-winning sandwich!

What You'll Need

  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided, plus more for brushing
  • 1/3 cup capers, rinsed and patted dry
  • 8 Spanish olives with minced pimento
  • 4 roasted garlic-stuffed olives
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 1 teaspoon anchovy paste
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 ciabatta rolls, split, or 8 slices Tuscan bread
  • 1 small bunch flat-leaf Italian parsley, leaves picked from stem
  • 1 tablespoon fresh marjoram
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • 3/4 pound buffalo mozzarella, drained, patted dry, and sliced (see note below)
  • 2 pounds large ripe heirloom tomatoes, cored and thickly sliced

What to Do

  1. Heat 1/2 cup olive oil in a small saute pan or deep skillet, until shimmering. Add capers and fry 3 to 4 minutes, or until browned and crisp. Drain on paper towel. Reserve oil.
  2. Coarsely chop olives; crush with oregano, pepper flakes, and 1/4 cup reserved oil to a coarse paste, or pulse on and off briefly in food processor. Blend in ricotta, anchovy paste and freshly ground pepper, to taste. Spread on bottom half of rolls. Combine parsley, fresh marjoram, and spinach in a small bowl and toss with a drizzle of olive oil, and vinegar.
  3. Layer spinach mixture, then mozzarella, and sliced tomatoes over olive spread. Sprinkle with fried capers, and freshly ground pepper, and drizzle with a little olive oil. Close sandwiches and serve.


Buffalo mozzarella is available in specialty stores, Italian delis, well-stocked markets, and cheese stores. If you do not find heirloom tomatoes, use the best, ripe greenhouse or vine-ripened tomatoes available.

Optional:  If you wish, brush outsides of sandwiches with olive oil and heat in panini or sandwich press until lightly toasted.

For more great recipe ideas from Mezzetta, check out their website!

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