For the homemade pesto (or use a good quality store-bought pesto)
1bunch basil leaves
a handful of nutsI used a mixture of peanuts, almonds, hazelnuts, pistachios, but any are fine
a handful of grated parmesan cheese
a small clove of garlic
1/4cupolive oil+ extra for brushing your eggplant/aubergine
For the rest of the sandwich
2big pieces of focacciaciabatta or Turkish bread (or any other flat-ish crusty bread)
2handfuls of fresh spinach
6 1/2cmthick slices of aubergine cut from a large eggplant/aubergine lengthwise
6-8bocconcinismall balls of mozzarella cheese, or about 2 larger mozzarella balls, sliced
sundried tomato slicesfrom a jar, in oil
Prevent your screen from going dark
First, pre-heat the oven to 350F/180C. Brush both sides of your eggplant/aubergine slices with olive oil and roast for 20 to 25 minutes or until soft and golden.
While your eggplant/aubergine slices are roasting, make the pesto. Put the basil, nuts, parmesan & garlic in a food processor and pulse until a chunky mixture forms. With the motor running, add the olive oil a little at a time until you have the consistency of a pesto. Scrape into a bowl and put aside.
Slice your pieces of bread in half crosswise, then spread each half with a generous amount of pesto. Top with the spinach (a handful on each sandwich), aubergine slices (3 on each sandwich), sliced bocconcini & sundried tomato slices (be generous with those tomatoes).
Top the sandwich with the other half of the bread, then cook with a panini press for a few minutes until hot and crisp. Enjoy!
Inspired by a vegetarian sandwich I had at the Cafe Bella Rosa, Perth, Australia