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Entries in Italian (1)

Wednesday
Mar022011

Triple-decker baked Italian cheese sandwiches

This is Week #9 of my 2011 cooking challenge! Click on the above graphic to view all P&TC recipes. All recipes created for this challenge come from the Food & Wine Annual Cookbook 2010.

I was so happy to be randomly paired with this sandwich recipe. I'm a huge lover of sandwiches, especially when they stray from the norm in some way. A triple-decker sandwich with lots of cheese? Oh my. And with juicy, roasted tomatoes? OH MY.

After they came out of the oven, and after I took a sufficient amount of photos, I sat and gazed at this sandwich's splendor. Isn't it pretty? I had no idea how to begin the process of eating it. Perhaps if my mouth were just a bit bigger I could have attempted a bite. Instead, I grabbed a fork and a knife and I dug in. YUM. I might need to ask my friend Jess just to be sure, but I'm fairly certain I stayed hunched over my cheesy plate until the last morsel was gone.

Start out by preheating your oven to 325 degrees F. Cut 8 Roma tomatoes in half lengthwise, and place them, cut side up, on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of olive oil over the tomatoes and season with salt and pepper.

Bake in the preheated oven for 1 1/2 hours, or until the tomatoes are soft. Sprinkle with 1-2 teaspoons of thyme and bake for an additional 30 minutes, or until the tomatoes are tender and slightly shriveled but still juicy. Let cool.

Increase the oven temperature to 375 degrees F.

The recipe calls for 2 loaves of Pullman bread, but I was unable to find Pullman bread anywhere. Instead, I used a fat loaf of French bread cut into 1/2-inch slices. Whichever type of bread you use, you will need 24 slices to make 8 servings.

On 16 of the 24 slices, brush olive oil onto one side. Arrange 8 of those slices, oiled side down, on a large, rimmed and greased baking sheet (I used aluminum foil to avoid a super messy clean-up).

Top each slice with:

Sliced provolone cheese (you will need 16 oz. total)

An unbrushed bread slice

Roasted tomatoes

12 oz. coarsely shredded Fontina cheese (you will need 16 oz. total, 4 of which you'll use later)

Remaining brushed bread slices, oiled side up

In retrospect, I wish I had split the provolone slices up and put 1 or 2 between the middle piece of bread and the tomatoes. Next time.

Bake in the preheated oven for about 15 minutes, or until the bread is toasted and the cheese is melted.

Preheat the broiler.

In a medium bowl, combine:

Remaining 8 oz. of shredded Fontina cheese

4 oz. freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Sprinkle the cheese mixture over the top of the sandwiches. Broil 3 inches from the heat for 1 minute, until the cheese is melted.

Oh my goodness, could anything be more mouth-watering? Mmmmm.

Click here for a printable recipe!