This is an Italian version of a grilled cheese sandwich. The beauty of this recipe is that once you have made it you will find a hundred ways to reinvent it. Do not forget to be innovative with the bread as well: whole-wheat, mixed-grain, and muffins all work beautifully.
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 8 slices sturdy whole-wheat bread
- 8 slices low-moisture mozzarella
- 8 slices deli ham
- ¼ cup prepared tomato sauce
- 8 fresh basil leaves
- 2 tablespoons grated Grana Padano
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Grease a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with 1 tablespoon of the butter. Arrange four slices of the bread in the dish, not touching. Top each with one slice of cheese and two slices of the ham. Spread the tomato sauce over the ham, and top with the basil leaves, then the remaining slices of cheese.
Spread the last four slices of bread with the remaining 2 tablespoons butter, and set on top of the sandwiches, butter side up. Sprinkle the bread with the grated cheese. Bake until the bread is toasted and the cheese is melted and bubbly, about 15 minutes.
Let sit for a few minutes before serving.