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Mini Pesto Grilled Cheese

Fresh basil pesto and sliced provolone cheese is sandwiched into a crusty baguette and grilled to perfection to make the best appetizer for any event. Don't forget to serve with homemade garlic butter tomato sauce for dunking!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time20 mins
Servings: 20 mini sandwiches

Ingredients

For the sandwiches:

  • 1 8.5-ounce French baguette long and skinny, if possible
  • 11/2 cup basil pesto recipe below
  • 12 slices provolone cheese halved
  • 2 tablespoons butter

For the pesto:

  • 3/4 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 3 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 2 cloves garlic halved
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

For the garlic butter tomato dipping sauce:

  • 10 ounces cherry tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons butter salted
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1/2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

For the sandwiches:

  • Make tomato sauce first, if using. See recipe below
  • Slice baguette into 1/3 inch rounds. Spread a thin layer of pesto onto half of the rounds, about 1/2 teaspoon (see pesto recipe below). On the other half of the round, place 1/2 slice of provolone cheese. I had to quarter mine so that it didn't hang too far over the edges.
  • Heat large saute pan over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon of butter. Once butter has melted and begin bubbling slightly, add about 10-12 sandwiches to pan. If you can't fit that many, add as many will fit. Cook for 5 minutes, press down on each one every so often. Flip and cook for another 3 minutes. Repeat with remaining sandwiches.
  • Serve immediately on large platter with tomato dipping sauce (see recipe below).

For the pesto:

  • First, toast the pine nuts. Place in small saute pan and heat on medium-low. Once they begin to get golden brown, remove from heat. Add pine nuts, cheese, basil, and garlic to bowl of food processor.
  • Run processor to combine ingredient. Begin to slowly drizzle olive oil into mixture as it's processing until the mixture comes together into a paste. Turn of processor. Taste to see if it needs any seasoning. I always add a pinch of salt. Pulse together. Now, it's ready to use!

For the tomato dipping sauce:

  • Place tomatoes in dry, large saute pan over medium heat. Once their skin begins to char, reduce heat to medium low and add one tablespoon of butter. Stir together.
  • Press the tomatoes with the back of your wooden spoon to squeeze out the juices. Add garlic, balsamic vinegar, and remaining butter to pan and stir together. Let the mixture cook until it's nice and thick. I like mine on the thicker side so I left it to cook for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve alongside your mini pesto grilled cheese!

Notes

Pesto recipe is from my gnocchi recipe
Garlic butter tomato dipping sauce is adapted from Pinch of Yum