Picnic Perfect. Pressed Italian Sandwich

Pressed Italian Sandwich

I was contacted recently by Tre Stelle™ to ask me if I was interested in trying their new Bocconcini medallions. One thing’s for sure … I never say no to cheese!

This delicious pressed sandwich recipe is perfect grab and go food. Perfect for summer picnics!

I thought the idea of pre-sliced Bocconcini was a great one. Sure, you can slice a Bocconcini ball yourself, but it’s wet and slippery and not the easiest thing to cut neatly. These slices lend themselves to any recipe where flat cheese slices just work better. I think they’d be perfect for caprese salad, lasagna, panini or cold sandwiches.

I decided to use the Bocconcini medallions in a sandwich – a picnic perfect, Pressed Italian Sandwich. These sandwiches are great to make up and keep them in the fridge to grab and go. They are also perfect for picnics or packed lunches, as they are hearty and filling and travel well. They will keep well in the fridge for several days.

Pressed Italian Sandwich

My version on the pressed sandwich features roasted red peppers, assorted Italian meats, Tre Stella Bocconcini medallions (drizzled with some balsamic vinegar) and arugula, all on a ciabatta bun. You can use any size ciabatta, from small buns to larger loaves. If using a large ciabatta loaf, simply place all the ingredients onto the loaf, refrigerate and press and then slice into smaller pieces before serving. I like to trim the edges off the sandwiches to enjoy all the layers. I love how all the flavours come together in this sandwich and notice how it’s red, white and green – just like the Italian flag!

Once made, the sandwiches are tightly wrapped in plastic wrap and refrigerated with a weight on top (the “pressed” part). I used my cast-iron grill pan, which worked perfectly. Refrigerate with the weight at least 6 hours or ideally, overnight. To keep the sandwich freshest, keep in the fridge, tightly wrapped in the plastic wrap and un-trimmed. When ready to serve or transport, simply trim the side and end crusts and if you like, wrap in a strip of parchment paper secured with some twine. You can then re-wrap in plastic wrap, if needed to keep them from drying out while they wait to be eaten.

Pressed Italian Sandwich

Pressed sandwiches are endlessly customizable. You can swap out spinach for the arugula, or tomato for the roasted red pepper. And so on. The possibilities are endless.

Picnic Perfect. Pressed Italian Sandwiches
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
These are pretty and tasty sandwiches, perfect for a summer picnic or to stock in the fridge to grab for lunch. They are endlessly customizable. Just use your imagination.
Recipe type: Sandwiches
Serves: 6

  • 6 small Ciabatta rolls (or you can use large buns or bread and slice up after)
  • 2-3 Tbsp. butter
  • 3 red peppers
  • 1 large bunch of arugula, rinsed and patted dry
  • 1 (200g) carton of Tre Stelle™ Bocconcini medallions (or if unavailable, you can slice a Bocconcini ball)
  • Assorted Italian cold meats, about 250 - 300g. (I used Soppressata Salami, Capocollo and Napoli Salami)
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  1. To roast the red peppers: Set your oven to the Broil setting. Slice the sides off the red peppers and place skin side up on a baking sheet (*I like to trim the ends so they lie as flat as possible, as they will brown better than pieces that are sloped). Place under the broiler until very well charred (black) on top, about 10 minutes (watch closely after 5 minutes. You'll want them to be mostly blackened on top.) Remove from the oven and immediately place the peppers in a plastic ziploc bag. Pop in the refrigerator for 30-40 minutes. Remove peppers from bag and peel off the blackened skin with a knife. Discard the skin and place the peppers into a small bowl. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  2. To prepare the sandwiches: Cut your ciabatta in half and butter each piece (or you could brush with a bit of olive oil, if you prefer, but butter will help prevent moisture from getting into the bread. Especially butter well under the red peppers if your sandwiches will be sitting for more than a day.). Place a layer of red pepper on bottom slice of bread. Top with a generous layer of cold meats (5 or 6 layers). Take your Bocconcini slices and place on a piece of paper towel. Top with another piece of paper towel and pat to dry a bit. Top the cold meat with a layer of the Bocconcini slices. Drizzle some balsamic vinegar over the Bocconcini slices and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Top with a generous layer of arugula. Top with top slice of ciabatta.
  3. Wrap each sandwich tightly with plastic wrap and place on a platter or baking sheet. When all the sandwiches are prepared, place the platter in the refrigerator. Place a heavy skillet on top of sandwiches to apply weight (if you don't have a heavy skillet, top with another baking sheet and place some large cans on top for the weight).
  4. Refrigerate at least 6 hours or ideally, overnight.
  5. When ready to serve, remove from plastic wrap. If desired, you can trim the sides and ends of the sandwiches to make neat sides and to enjoy the wonderful colours of these sandwiches.
I received coupons for the Bocconcini medallions, along with a lovely cheese board from Tre Stelle, but as always, my opinions are my own.

Tags for this recipe:


    • They would! I loved how pretty they were and wrapping them in parchment makes them feel really special.

    • Thanks Antonia. These are great sandwiches and I love that they can be made well ahead and keep quite a while in the fridge, too.

  • I love these! I am planning to make an all Italian menu for my husband’s fiftieth birthday party next month. I love that I can make these a day or two ahead and I LOVE the way you wrapped them up with the parchment and twine. I think a huge tray of about 50 of these sandwiches will be a huge hit!!! Thanks for the recipe.

    • You’re welcome, Marla. These would be perfect for your party! If you’re making these a couple of days out, be sure to butter well under the red peppers. They are moist and may soften the bread a bit underneath if they are sitting a couple of days. The butter will help prevent that. Have a wonderful party.

  • These are gorgeous! You made them so beautifully. My mom and I keep talking about getting the family together for a picnic now that warm weather has FINALLY arrived — this is wonderful inspiration!

    • Hi Sophie and thanks so much. I’m glad the warm weather has found you. It’s been very hot here so far this summer. I hope you get to have that picnic!

  • This looks delish! I plan on making these on our vacation and taking to the beach! My family will love these. Being it is a vacation, I’ll probably just bring red pepper spread from Trader Joe’s instead of roasting the peppers (I’m lazy like that on vacation). I can’t wait to try these. Glad I came across this on pinterest!

    • Thanks Patty. You could also use jarred roasted red peppers. Just pat them dry a bit. Enjoy your sandwiches and your vacation!

  • Oh my goodness! These look absolutely delicious, Jennifer! I’m also really hungry right now, as I’m in the middle of a 24 hour fast :-(. I, too, came across you via Pinterest.

  • Hi Jennifer,
    I feel like a late bloomer but I have never heard of a pressed sandwich and I am wondering what is accomplished by pressing it. Does the texture change or flavors? I read all the comments and noone seems to question this so maybe its just me? Regardless of the reason…I love Italian sandwiches and plan on trying these. Thanks.

    • Hi Carm, Before I made them, I wondered the same thing. Pressing makes these sandwiches shorter of course (so easier to eat), but most importantly I think, the fillings seem to meld together, so when you eat them you don’t get any of that filling shifting that often happens with layered sandwiches. Means you get all the flavours from top to bottom with every bite.

  • wow, these look yummy!

    did you know these were featured in the national British newspaper the Guardian today? That’s what led me to your site!

    Katie x

    • Hi Katie, Yes, I was thrilled and honoured to have my little sandwiches in the Guardian. (I did know ahead, as they emailed me to get permission to publish it.) Thanks though and for thanks for popping over here.

      (Link to the Guardian article, for anyone interested in checking out the other goodies in the article)

  • These look absolutely amazing. I love, love, love arugula and everything else you feature on this beautiful sandwich. Your newer salted chocolate brownie cookies are what brought me to your blog, and it is consistently beautiful recipes and pictures that will keep me coming back!

  • Hi Jennifer. thank you for this wonderful sandwich. I am a fan of pesto, do you think I can add pesto into this sandwich? Will the bread become saggy if I add pesto? I am prepare a picnic in 2 days. 25 sandwiches….hope I can survive.

    • Hi Tammi, I think pesto would be great in this sandwich. I’d put it between the cheese and the arugula. That way the arugula will be a barrier between the pesto and the bread, so should be fine. Enjoy the sandwiches!

  • Hi Jennifer, thank you for your reply, I am very appreciated it. I am sure your sandwich recipe will amaze my friends:). have a good weekend

    • Wow Carol. You are ambitious! I would go for the large ciabatta bun/loaf. My grocer sells ones that are about 8-inches by 10-inches or so. Each one can then be cut into 4 or 6 sandwiches (depending on finished size). It’s just easier to do one large loaf than 6 individual ones. The brown parchment is just unbleached. I get mine at my local health food store (or anywhere that sells “green” products like unbleached muffin liners etc.) Hope that helps and good luck!

  • These sandwiches are delicious. And being able to make in advance is such a bonus. I used large ciabatta rolls from Panera Bread, and the mixed italian meats at Costco. I made two nights ahead, so was worried about putting down the roasted peppers as the first layer (I used jarred roasted peppers), so I layered meats on top and bottom. Olive oil is listed as ingredient, but only instructions were could use instead of butter. I omitted the balsamic, but drizzled with olive oil and also some pesto, then salt & pepper. Definitely load up with lots of arugula as it will smash down and not seem like a lot later. Two days later I cut them up into smaller sandwiches in the morning and wrapped the individual sandwiches with press & seal wrap. They traveled very well that way and made it easy for people to just grab one throughout the day. Will definitely be making these again. Thanks for sharing Jennifer!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *