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Panini (singular panino) constitute an Italian bread dish consisting of cooked food stuffs like meat and cheese in between two slices of bread loaves or rolls. Typically made with the ciabata or the rosetta varieties of breads, the Panini are available in the toasted and non-toasted versions, the latter being very popular in the United States of America. The resident Italians call the toasted versions, “toasties”. In the present times the Panini recipe is not only popular in Italian cuisine but in other western cuisines too. As pressed Panini has gained a number of patrons, in recent times, the Panini press, the equipment that is used for preparing this sandwich has become a household name.

Origin and History of Panino

Etymologically the word Panini is derived from the word panino which means a “small roll of bread” in Italian. What is now generally referred to as the Panino is, in the strict sense of the word, the bread with filling, which is ideally called panino imbottito( which translates to “bread roll with filling” in Italian.) The word Panini is widely used to refer to the singular form of the dish and even a plural, Paninis, to the actual plural form has been created.

The Panini recipe seemed to be first observed in an Italian cookbook of the 16th century. It had become a famous fast food and started being served and bars and restaurants like the fashionable bars of Milan. The sandwich gained huge fan following in the United States of America in the twentieth century, the first reference being made to the dish in USA precisely in 1956, in New York City. In the ‘80s, the term paninaro was invented in American slang to refer to commercial outlets providing the Panini and also to the person who prepares such food. The term also started being applied to patrons of this dish and who followed the lifestyle, generally described as fashionable, by people who ate it.

Ingredients Used in the Preparation of Panino

Panini, traditionally includes, rosetta or ciabata bread; meats like ham, mortadella or salami, and cheese. This sandwich being popular in other and Italian sub-cuisines too, the basic Panini recipe is modified to suit specific cuisine preferences. Vegetables and herbs like tomato, basil and red peppers are also highly preferred as items for filling the sandwich. For example, the Central Italian version of the dish has porchetta( roasted and sliced pork ) as the filling.

Preparation Overview of Panino

Panini is conveniently prepared. According to traditional Italian Panini recipe, the Panini can be prepared by grilling or even without it. The loaves of the bread are cut horizontally and cheese is sprinkled on them. The meat and vegetable are put in between the Panini loaves which can be served. However, since toasties are preferred by many, the bread needs to be grilled before serving. Grilled bread and the vegetables can be assembled in two ways- one is by arranging the fillings on breads that are already toasted, and second, by putting in the fillings first and then pressing the Panini in the press.