Pesto Grilled Cheese Panini

Bursting with flavor, this grown-up grilled cheese makes a perfect warm lunch with simply dressed greens. Save leftover pesto to use as a sandwich spread, a pizza topping, or a sauce for pasta or fish.
Prep: 2 minutes • Cook: 11 minutes
1 red bell pepper, cut into 4 wedges
Olive oil–flavored cooking spray
1 ⁄ 4 cup Basil-Walnut Pesto
8 (1-ounce) slices sourdough bread
4 (0.7-ounce) slices reduced-fat provolone cheese
1 ⁄ 2 cup (2 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
Cooking spray

  1. Preheat panini grill.
  2. Coat both sides of bell pepper wedges with cooking spray. Place on panini grill; cook 8 minutes or until tender and lightly charred.
  3. While bell pepper cooks, prepare Basil-Walnut Pesto. Spread 1 1 ⁄ 2 teaspoons pesto on each bread slice. Top each of 4 bread slices with 1 provolone slice, 2 tablespoons mozzarella, and 1 bell pepper wedge; top with remaining bread slices. Coat both sides of sandwiches with cooking spray.
  4. Place sandwiches on panini grill. Grill 3 minutes or until bread is browned and cheese melts. Cut panini in half before serving, if desired. Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 panino).
Basil-Walnut Pesto

2 tablespoons coarsely chopped walnuts
1 garlic clove, peeled
2 cups fresh basil leaves
1 ⁄ 4 cup grated fresh pecorino Romano cheese
1 ⁄ 8 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  1. Drop nuts and garlic through food chute with food processor on; process until minced. Add basil, cheese, and salt; process until finely minced. With processor on, slowly pour oil through food chute; process until blended. Yield: 8 servings (serving size: 1 tablespoon).