February 15, 2012

Paninis with Radicchio, Goat Cheese, Citrus Oil, and Almond Pesto {Powernap}


This is the latest installment of my Powernap column. The series where I share quick, easy food that can be made for all kinds of situations. Powernaps are short and sweet, and so are these recipes. These are the things I make in a jiffy when I need a quick snack, am in the mood for a recipe experiment, or simply need to clean out the pantry.

I am in packing mode so this week is all about speed and convenience without compromising taste, of course. One of my go-to quick meals is the classic panini. There are nearly endless combinations of what can be pressed between two slices of bread and this particular recipe was inspired by a panini I ate at LaGuardia airport last November. Yes, you read that correctly, a sandwich bought at an airport inspired me. I tell you – good food can be found just about anywhere!

This panini bar was brimming with all sorts of delicious looking sandwiches and I chose one that seemed light and flavorful. I didn’t want anything obscenely salty or heavy prior to boarding an airplane. Recreating it proved to be fairly simple since I had all of the ingredients on hand. I made the almond pesto quickly while my daughter was at school and simply assembled the paninis right before we were ready to eat. Like the sandwich I’d remembered, this one was brimming with silky goat cheese, crunchy radicchio and complimentary notes of blood orange and herbaceous pesto. As far as quick meals go this one bears repeating, perhaps I’ll be turning to it again when I return from my trip at the end of the month and need a few swift recipes on hand while I regain my bearings.


 Paninis with Radicchio, Goat Cheese, Citrus Oil, and Almond Pesto

makes two paninis


Almond Pesto:

1 cup packed basil leaves
1/3 cup almonds, not salted or roasted
1 garlic clove, peeled
4 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
¼ cup good olive oil

For the Citrus Oil

1 cup olive oil
1 blood orange, zested and juiced


1 small loaf ciabatta
1 4-ounce log plain goat cheese
1 small head radicchio


1. To make the pesto: Place the first four ingredients in a food processor and pulse until a fine paste forms. Scrape down the sides and with the processor on low pour in the oil in in a steady stream until the pesto forms. Set aside.

2. To make the oil: Pour the olive oil into a small bowl containing the orange zest and juice until completely emulsified. Set aside.

3. To make the paninis: Slice the ciabatta into two pieces, then cut each piece in half. Brush one side of the bread with one or two tablespoons of pesto. Drizzle the other side of the bread one tablespoon of the olive oil. Slice half of goat cheese log into several pieces and lay them flat over the pesto. Then top that with radicchio and close the sandwich with the citrus olive oil bread. Cook on a panini press for about 10 minutes on low heat, or until the goat cheese is melted and the sandwich is heated through.

Naptime Notes

Naptime Recipe Serving ideas

You’ll inevitably have pesto and citrus olive oil leftover. You can buy more goat cheese and bread to make more paninis! Or, use them for salad dressing and pesto-roasted salmon the next day!

Naptime Stopwatch

10 minutes to assemble and make. Make the pesto ahead of time to save time!

Naptime Reviews

A huge hit with my husband. Served with some quick couscous it was a great easy meal.

5 Responses to “Paninis with Radicchio, Goat Cheese, Citrus Oil, and Almond Pesto {Powernap}”

  1. Kristina says:

    these sound delicious, Kelsey!

  2. Erica King says:

    it says “1/3 almonds”–does that mean 1/3 cup?

  3. love the almond pesto! goat cheese makes every sandwich(and not only) yummier! 

  4. […] I don’t usually think of sandwiches as being “sophisticated,” but that’s about the only word that applies to this panini with radicchio, goat cheese, citrus oil and almond pesto. I know that sounds complicated, but Kelsey Banfield says total prep time is just 10 minutes — even if you make the pesto from scratch. (The Naptime Chef) […]