YIELD: 12 SERVINGS
4 ½ lbs. yellow onions, sliced
3 oz. olive oil
6 Tbsps. Crushed red pepper flakes
12 ciabatta rolls
Aioli (recipe follows)
3 cups fresh basil leaves
3 cups roasted red pepper strips
1½ lbs. sharp white cheddar, sliced
1½ cups pitted Kalamata olives, halved
For the Aioli:
1½ cups olive oil
3 Tbsps. white wine vinegar
6 medium cloves of garlic
a few dashes of salt
fresh ground black pepper to taste
1. Caramelize onions over low heat in oil for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden; mix in red pepper flakes. Split ciabatta roll and brush inside lightly with aioli.
2. For each serving, layer bottom of roll with ¼ cup basil leaves, ¾ cup caramelized onion, ¼ cup roasted red pepper, 2 oz. cheese and 2 Tbsps. Olives. Brush top of roll with aioli.
3. For the aioli: Combine aioli ingredients except fresh ground black pepper in blender or food processor until blended and slightly thickened.
4. Add fresh ground black pepper to taste. Place in panini grill set at medium high, slowly close lid, somewhat flattening sandwich inside, and grill 15 minutes or until golden and melted.
Photo and recipe: The National Onion Association