This Italian pressed sandwich is a hearty sandwich loaded with Italian cold cuts, cheese and seasonings. Perfect for picnics, game day parties, or any day ending with “y”.
Italian Pressed Sandwiches are one of my absolute *favorite* sandwiches. They are loaded with all kinds of goodies, then pressed together so that everything melds together.
You guys, they are perfect. They are my go-to sandwiches when we are planning a picnic or game day celebrations. They are easy to make and can even be made in advance to make taking them on camping trips even easier!
What are Italian pressed sandwiches you ask? First, you take all of that goodness, the bread, the meats, the cheese, the veggies, the herbs and tapenade and wrap it tightly in plastic wrap. Then you place it in the fridge with a heavy pan, think cast iron skillet, on top. This makes all of those delicious flavors come together and make even more scrumptious flavor babies, resulting in one of the best picnic sandwiches ever to grace a picnic table.
THE BREAD: It starts with the bread. It HAS to be crusty. Because you are pressing it overnight you don’t want something too soft or it will get soggy. Think cibatta or pugliese.
THE MEAT: An Italian sandwich is all about the cold cuts. This sandwich has capicola, calabrese and proscuitto. You can easily substitute hard salami, ham, sopressata or even pepperoni. Whatever suits your fancy. Whatever you do, do a combo, 3 is usually a good variety.
THE CHEESE: I love provolone on an Italian sandwich but you also can’t go wrong with mozzarella. Like ever.
THE FINISHINGS: Finally you get all the finishing toppings like the roasted red peppers, arugula, dressing and my favorite part, the olive tapenade. You can usually find it in the deli section of your grocery store. Some store-bought versions can be a little on the bitter side so you might have to shop around until you find one that you love.
It is pretty easy! The hardest part is waiting for the sandwich to press.
STEP #1: Roast the red pepper. Turn on oven broiler and broil red pepper until the skin starts to blacken. About 5 minutes. Remove from oven, allow to cool and slice.
STEP #2: In a bowl, mix together olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic and dijon mustard. Set aside while you prepare the sandwich.
STEP #3: Spread the olive tapenade on the bottom half bread. Place the rest of the toppings, in the following order, on top: provolone cheese, roasted red pepper, capicola, calabrese, proscuitto, parsley and arugula. Drizzle the olive oil/balsamic dressing over the top.
STEP #4: Wrap entire sandwich tightly in plastic wrap. Place in the refrigerator and place a heavy bottom skillet, such as cast iron, on top of the sandwich. Allow to set for at least 1 hour.
These Italian Pressed Sandwiches are just begging to be made for your next picnic. You can even make them a day in advance!
Note: This post was originally published 2014. It was updated with new step by step photos, nutrition information and a video in 2021.