Portabella and Goat Cheese Sandwhiches with Green Olive Pesto

If there are two things I love, it’s goat cheese and mushrooms–so the other day when I was flipping through my fine cooking magazine, I stumbled across this recipe and knew I had to make it! I’m SO glad I did too! This was absolutely heavenly to me!! The creamy goat cheese and portabellas were complimented so well with a home-made green olive pesto that was pretty spot on–making this one of the BEST panini’s I have ever had!

What’s funny is that, as I was making this recipe, nothing went right! I didn’t use my food-processor like I should have to emulsify the pesto correctly (I was being too lazy–still adjusting after my week in Hawaii!) I didn’t have a panini press, and the nice bread I was going to use went stale! But even with a little creative improvisation, this recipe still worked,  and it’s definitely one i’m going to want to keep on hand! So here it is… improvisations and all!

Ingredients:
1 cup tightly packed fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup pitted green olives, coarsely chopped
1 Tbsp walnuts
1 clove garlic, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup plus 2tsp extra-virgin olive oil
salt & pepper
4 medium/large sized portabella mushrooms
4 slices bread/2 soft rolls
4 oz. crumbled goat cheese

Directions:
Put the basil, olives, nuts and garlic in a food processor and process until finely chopped. (In my picture you can see I used a blender–I know that’s cheating, but it did the job without having to assemble anything. So you can use that too!)
If using a food processor, keep the motor running and drizzle in 6 Tbsp of the olive oil in a slow, steady stream through the tube. If using a blender, add the olive oil all at once and mix well. spoon the pesto on a slice of bread. P.S. I did have some nice ciabatta that I brought a couple of days ago, but by today it was dry and rock hard! (The joys of living 60 miles from a decent grocery store). However–this plain white bread worked GREAT! The softer the better.Heat 1tsp olive oil in a pan. Peel the mushrooms, cut off the stems, then season with salt and pepper. Add the mushrooms to the pan and fry for 2-3 minutes either side, then drain on paper towels. (They will let off a lot of moisture).

Add the mushrooms on top o the pesto, then top with the goat cheese and add another slice of bread.
If you have a panini maker, place the sandwiches pesto side up, on the press, pull the top down and cook until browned and crisp and the cheese is melted (5-7 mins). Otherwise, place the sandwiches on a skillet with a little olive oil and put a heavy pan on top of the sandwiches to flatten them… this cast iron one worked nicely! Carefully remove from the press/pan, slice and serve.
My husband hates mushrooms, but he liked this panini a lot because of the green olive pesto! I loved it not in spite of the mushrooms, but because of the mushrooms!! Put mushrooms in anything, and i’ll love it–but make portabellas the main ingredient, and it’ll be a new favorite! If you’re anything like me, you HAVE to try this!!

Enjoy guys!
<3 Sarah