I’ve mentioned my friend Gariann before, but now it is time for a formal introduction: I’d like you to meet a fabulous cook and the most positive person I know, and if you knew her I bet you would say the same thing (everyone else does!). I met Gariann back in the spring of 2010, when I made a trip to Italy to do some teacher training, and we first started getting to know each other over a really good Italian meal. Gariann was one of the teachers in the training, and while she was there she was offered a job in Germany. During casual getting-acquainted talk we discovered we both grew up in small central Washington towns and had completed the same major with the same profs at Eastern Washington University. A few months later, we were sharing an office and have been friends ever since. As for that really good meal I mentioned, if you ever find yourself anywhere near Aeolia in Longare (Vicenza Province), trust me – make your way there for pear and prosciutto fagottini (contented sigh just thinking of it).
I’ve already written about the yummy Latin-influenced grilled cheese sandwiches we made at Gariann’s house earlier this week. Even earlier in the week, she tested out her sandwich maker* by making an Italian-inspired version with odds and ends she found in the fridge. Fortunately, she took a few pictures so we can all enjoy the creation!
Gariann’s Little Italy Grilled Cheese
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1 onion
- 6 mushrooms
- 1 Italian sausage link
- A few sun-dried tomatoes
- Dried Italian seasoning to taste
- A little red wine
- Sliced mozzarella
- Bread of your choice
- Grated parmesan, garlic powder, and rosemary to taste
- Butter, olive oil, or butter or olive oil spray
Thinly slice the veggies and sauté them with the sausage link sans skin. Add some Italian seasonings and a generous splash of red wine along with the sundried tomatoes.
Heat sandwich maker and butter the bread slices or spray with butter or olive oil. Put a layer of the sausage-veggie mixture on the bread, add mozzarella slices, then top with another slice of bread (buttered side up and sprinkled with parmesan cheese, garlic powder and rosemary). Cook until the cheese is melted and the bread is toasty.
*This sandwich maker found a new home in Gariann’s kitchen when our friends Pat and Sue retired and moved back to the states – a panini press or Foreman grill would give the same great results, and a good old-fashioned frying pan with a lid will do the trick as well (in that case, follow the method described in the first post of this series).
Tami and Gariann