Mozzarella in Carrozza: Now with Pesto!

Casey Barber | Good. Food. Stories.

Our Mozzarella in carrozza recipe involves the use of pesto. Give it a try today!

Mozzarella in Carrozza with Pesto Sandwich

Whenever I think about mozzarella in carrozza, or "mozzarella in a carriage," as it's directly translated, I imagine this sandwich turning into Cinderella and heading off to the ball in an ornate, glittering vessel - a plain-jane meal getting the royal treatment.

And though I might have too many fairy tales on the brain, in this case, my mental image isn't too far off the mark. Sure, there are no transforming pumpkins in this recipe, but mozzarella in carrozza is essentially a grilled cheese sandwich in fancy dress.

Mozzarella in Carrozza Sandwich

Where a typical diner-style grilled cheese takes the mundane - white bread, American cheese, butter - and makes it sublime, Italians start with the best stuff: slices of bread from a crusty loaf and fresh mozzarella. (Please don't use the tough, square blocks from the refrigerated aisle or worse yet, pre-shredded mozz: go for the good stuff!).

Even better, Italians go the extra mile to ensure a golden, crispy package of oozing cheese by dipping the entire sandwich in beaten egg, exactly like you'd do for French toast or a Monte Cristo.

Sometimes you'll see versions of this sandwich that attain another layer of crunch by getting themselves rolled in breadcrumbs and deep-fried like a fritter, but the at-home mozzarella in carrozza doesn't lose anything in translation from simply being grilled in a pan.

There's no law against adding other between-the-bread accompaniments to this sandwich, either: prosciutto would be incredible, as it nearly always is, but a simple slice of summer tomato and fresh basil leaves would turn this into a Margherita sandwich. Because it's winter and a good tomato is nowhere to be found here in New Jersey, I'm forgoing the produce this time around.

Thank God for hydroponic basil, just as good as - if not better than - the wan stuff I grow myself: in this case, I've embellished my sandwich with thick swipes of homemade pesto. Enjoy!

    2 Servings

Ingredients

  • 1 cup fresh basil, packed
  • 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 tablespoon pine nuts
  • 1 clove garlic, sliced into chunks
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 4 slices italian bread, each no more than 1-inch thick
  • 4 slices mozzarella cheese, sliced thin

Directions

  1. Make the pesto by blending the basil, Parmesan, pine nuts, garlic, pepper, and 1/4 cup olive oil in a mini food processor (or do it by hand with a mortar and pestle, if you're old-school) until creamy. Add kosher salt to taste.
  2. Line two of the bread slices with mozzarella and spread pesto on the other two bread slices, then put them together to make two sandwiches.
  3. Whisk the egg and milk together in a shallow bowl that's wide enough to fit the whole sandwich in. Reserve.
  4. Heat the butter and remaining tablespoon olive oil in a large cast iron or nonstick skillet over medium-low heat until the butter is melted and foaming.
  5. Dip both outer sides of a sandwich in the egg-milk mixture, then place in the pan. Repeat with the remaining sandwich.
  6. Cook, flipping once or twice, until the mozzarella melts and the bread is golden and toasty. Serve immediately.

Mozzarella-in-carrozza-with-pesto-sandwich

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Casey-barber

About Casey

Casey loves the Mets, Pittsburgh, and all things food, which she writes about on Good. Food. Stories. She's sharing her heritage and authentic Italian recipes as our Italian Fanatic.

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