Panini With Friends

{Today’s post is sponsored by Mezzetta – a brand whose products I have been using for years. I thank them for their support of Panini Happy.}

Who’s up for a panini party? My friends and I were!

On a recent Saturday afternoon a group of my close friends joined me for a casual panini party at my house. It’s not every day that we have the chance to catch up over lunch – just us, without our nine little kids. Drinks and snacks were ready for the girls when they arrived…then we got straight to grilling!

Drinks and snacks to start things off


No pressure at all, making panini with the lovely Marialuisa who is from Milan!! I’m happy to say that she put her stamp of Italian approval on all of our creations (and, of course, hers was delicious – and beautifully styled – you’ll see a pic further down in the post).


This is my awesome friend, Sarah, who is excited to have recently found her panini press that previously went missing during a move. She’s ready to start grilling!


There’s me at the grill (and apparently someone’s swiftly moving hand in the foreground!).


There’s always that moment of “Okay…everything’s good in there…I can relax for the next 4 minutes…”


Catherine is thrilled to get her sandwich onto the press – I spy some grilled eggplant, fresh mozzarella and prosciutto in there! Mmmm…


All the condiments we used for our panini – basil pesto, sundried tomato pesto, chimichurri, roasted red peppers, olive tapenade, peperoncini – were provided by Mezzetta. There was no shortage of flavor here!


I wanted to be sure the girls had lots of panini ingredients to choose from! In addition to the Mezzetta condiments, I set out four cheeses (fresh mozzarella, Manchego, Brie and Beecher’s Flagship, which is an aged cheddar), grilled zucchini, four meats (chicken breast, turkey breast, prosciutto and sopressata), three types of bread (Italian rolls, sliced Italian bread and a baguette). On the side, I also made a Green Goddess kale salad and gazpacho!


Claudia’s sandwich was amazing – she snuck some olives and peperoncini in there!


We each cut up our creations to share around the table.


Here is Marialuisa’s beautiful plating that I mentioned earlier (what is the Italian version of très chic?).




We had a birthday to celebrate too! Catherine blew out the candles for a “milestone birthday” on the decadent Dark Chocolate Olive Oil Cake with Strawberries I made from the new Cooking Techniques with Olive Oil ebook, by my friends Laura Bashar and Mary Platis.


Claudia also brought her famous chocoflan – chocolate cake on the bottom, flan with caramel sauce and nuts on top (I haven’t stopped thinking about it since she first brought one to one of our get-togethers two summers ago). She surprised me with it when she arrived – that was a fantastic surprise! A wise person once said, “A friend who bakes you chocoflan is a friend you keep.”


I didn’t manage to snap any pics of my friend Charlotte making her panini, but there she is at the far left in this group shot. Charlotte, who is from Germany, is always kind enough to think of me when she’s shopping at international food stores. She brought over some German curry sauce that just might find its way into a recipe on this blog someday soon. 🙂

Have you ever hosted a panini party? You should! You can find some good tips in my How to Host a Panini Party post. 🙂


KathyPanini Happy, online since 2008, is more than just a sandwich blog. Here, you'll find hundreds of my original panini recipes, my guide to choosing a panini press and a whole lot of other creative uses for the panini press.
~ Kathy Strahs
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  1. If I lived near you, I would have raided your party. Totally uninvited. And look at you, ya itty bitty thing!

    Posted 8.28.13 Reply
    • Kathy Strahs wrote:

      If you lived near me you would have definitely been invited, Amy!!

      Posted 8.28.13 Reply
  2. Erin R. wrote:

    Fun! I’m about to have my family over on Sunday for lunch and it’s going to be panini! Ours aren’t going to be as lovely as yours but it ought to be fun. Excellent idea to have everyone cut theirs into pieces to share around. I was just going to make some kind of flat bread and cut it into small slider-size squares, but maybe I should see if everyone wants to make bigger sandwiches and try each others’ inventions. Hmm…

    Posted 8.29.13 Reply
    • Kathy Strahs wrote:

      Terrific! Yeah, it’s a lot of fun to grill and share around the room. People tend to take a lot of pride in their creations! 🙂

      Posted 8.29.13 Reply
  3. Bob Hayes wrote:

    Beautiful Paninis’, all sound scrumptious . Good stuff.

    Posted 8.29.13 Reply
  4. Lisa Richerson wrote:

    Choco-flan?! I think I need a recipe for that!!!

    Posted 8.30.13 Reply
  5. Looks like an awesome party!! 🙂

    Posted 9.3.13 Reply
  6. Oh I bet this was just so much fun 🙂 and delicious too

    Posted 9.6.13 Reply
  7. Yay! You made the cake! I hope everyone liked it!

    Posted 10.10.13 Reply
    • Kathy Strahs wrote:

      They did, Laura!!

      Posted 10.10.13 Reply