A panini is like a sandwich but so much better. It’s compressed to intensify and meld the insides of the sandwich and warmed until that cheese oozes and threatens to melt. This recipe takes a shortcut with pre-cooked Italian sausage, but nothing that affects the flavor. Just ask your local Italian butcher for the best ready-to-eat sausage, and you’ll keep the quality top-notch.

Special Equipment: You’ll need a panini press … or an iron that you don’t mind getting cheesy.

You have got to whip up a cool Italian dessert for after the panini, like this Toasted Sesame Seed and Honey Gelato recipe or our Raspberry Sorbet recipe. But if you want to skip Italy in favor of France, try our Parisian Panini recipe, or our Smoked Duck and Cherry Pressed Sandwich recipe.

  • Yield: 2 servings
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Total: 20 mins
  • Active: 20 mins

Ingredients (7)

  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 slices Italian bread, sliced 1/2-inch thick
  • 4 slices provolone cheese
  • 2 pre-cooked Italian sausages, sliced 1/2-inch thick
  • 1 cup fresh baby spinach
  • olive oil for brushing


  1. Preheat a panini press. In a small sauté pan over medium-high heat, add the olive oil and red bell pepper and cook until the bell pepper is soft.
  2. Assemble the panini by laying two pieces of bread on a work surface. Lightly brush the bread with olive oil. Lay 2 pieces of cheese on one piece of bread, followed by half each of the sausage slices, red bell peppers, and spinach. Top with the remaining piece of bread and place the sandwich in the panini press.
  3. Cook until the bread is golden and cheese is melted, about 3 to 5 minutes. Repeat with the remaining bread and ingredients. Serve warm.