A classic Italian sub has at least three kinds of cured meats in it. I like a mix of pepperoni, salami, and prosciutto—but there is no hard and fast rule here. If you want something spicy, add some soppressata. If you want something a little creamier, add a thin slice of mortadella!
As far as cheese goes though, I’m a purist. Provolone only, please! It melts really well, has a nice mild flavor, and is just the perfect cheese to complement these cured meats.
The bread I use for grilled cheeses depends on one thing: what I have in my pantry. Sure, there are some people that say you need to use fancy, crusty bread to make a good grilled cheese, but those people need to chill out.
When I’m cooking for my family, I use pretty much any and all breads for this sandwich. On the particular day I served these, I made it with plain white sandwich bread, and you know what? It was delicious!
As far as I know, there are three classic ways to make grilled cheese. I’ve used them all, and they all work.
- Mayo all the way! Some people are mayo people, where they smear mayo on the outside of the sandwiches before toasting, and I like that method for a simple grilled cheese.
- Nope, gimme butter! Some other people like to smear on butter. That works well also.
- Butter, but melt it in the pan! I actually find it easier to melt a little butter in the skillet over medium-low heat, and then quickly flip the sandwich in the butter to coat all sides. Not only is this easier, but it also helps you gauge how hot your skillet is. If your skillet is too hot, it’ll just burn the bread before your grilled cheese is cooked through.
Once your sandwiches are coated with butter on both sides, just cook them for three to four minutes per side until they are golden brown, and the cheese has melted!
Italian Grilled Cheese Sandwiches Recipe
- Prep time: 10 minutes
- Cook time: 20 minutes
- Yield: 4 sandwiches
- 1 cup hot pickled cauliflower, chopped
- 1/2 cup green olives (Castelvetrano), chopped
- 1/4 cup banana peppers
For the sandwiches:
- 8 slices sandwich bread
- 8 slices provolone cheese
- 4 ounces Genoa salami
- 4 ounces prosciutto
- 2 ounces pepperoni
- 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, loosely packed
- 2 tablespoons butter
Prepare the sandwiches: Add a slice of provolone to a piece of bread. Top with a layer of salami, prosciutto, and pepperoni. Divide the meat evenly among the four sandwiches.
Top meat with a handful of fresh basil leaves and a second piece of provolone cheese. Add second piece of bread and press down slightly to keep the sandwich together.
Grill that cheese: Preheat a large skillet over medium-low heat. Once warm, add about 1/2 tablespoon of butter per sandwich you are cooking. Usually, I cook two at a time. When the butter has melted, add the sandwich and coat the bread with the melted butter, then flip and coat the second side as well.
Let sandwiches cook over medium-low heat for about 3 to 4 minutes per side, making sure they don’t get too browned. After about 6 to 8 minutes total, the cheese in the sandwich should be well melted and the bread toasted. Done!
Repeat the process for the last two sandwiches. I like to serve the first two to kids while I make the last two for adults, but you can also keep the first two warm in a 200°F oven while you make the last two.
Serve! Serve sandwiches with chips, salad, steamed veggies, and/or giardiniera.