Salami Sandwich

How To Find The Best Ingredients For An Italian Sandwich

We’re all familiar with the typical Italian sandwiches, big, juicy, and full of flavor. But how do you actually go about making one, when you don’t know where to look or what to choose?

No worries, we’re here to help and bring you a selected list with suggestions for your first Panino.

First of all, we need to choose the bread. If you want your sandwich to look like the ones made by some Italian guy on TikTok, then you need some fresh bread, preferably from a local bakery.

There are many types of bread Italians use to make sandwiches, here are some of the most popular:

  • The Ciabatta is a type of bread, that originated from the Veneto region. It has a tough and crispy golden crust with a soft and cloudy inside. The name literally means “slipper” which makes sense given the similar shape.
  • If you’re not into hard crusts, then it’s not a problem. The Italians boast a large variety of bread types, around 250, and many of them are all around soft. One that I particularly like is the morbidone catanese. Again, the name says it all, it’s very soft and from Catania (Sicily).

Now that we got the bread sorted, we can talk about the juicy stuff. The cheese. Italy has many types of cheese, but for now, let’s take a look at the most popular options for sandwiches:

  • Mozzarella is juicy, soft, and rich with flavor. It can make your sandwich feel a lot more refreshing, though pay attention not to add anything else that could make it excessively wet.
  • Scamorza is a bit tougher and dryer than mozzarella. In supermarkets, it usually comes in vacuum packages and can it be normal or smoked. Both versions are delightful.
  • Provola is a soft, stretched-curd cheese made with whole buffalo milk combined with cow’s milk, or more commonly made with cow’s milk alone. It can also be found smoked. Again, similar to mozzarella, but much firmer.
  • Next up we have Grana Padano, which originated in northern Italy. It is a hard and seasoned cheese, which gives it a strong flavor. Careful though, if you’re getting grana Padano, you want to get a “Protected designation of origin” product or PDO for short.

Now for the meat of the sandwich. Let’s look at it like this: there are many, many types of seasoned meats you can get, but for beginners, I’d recommend 3 types to choose from based on fat percentage: 

  • Bresaola is air-dried beef, aged 2 to 3 months until it turns into a dark red color. It is the healthiest option, rich in protein and not so fatty. It is often recommended for diabetics. This one goes well with grana Padano and some rocket salad (rucola).
  • Prosciutto crudo, is dry cured ham. The most popular being Prosciutto di Parma PDO. It is a great option, that pairs well with mozzarella and provola. If you are buying it sealed from the supermarket, then chances are it will taste saltier than if you were to get it freshly cut from a butcher’s shop.
  • Finally, I would suggest Salame Napoli. This used to be a very expensive food item, often traded in exchange for high-value professional work, and consumed on very special occasions. It is made from fresh pork, salt, and spices. It comes in a sweet flavor as well as a spicy one.
Panino With Mortadella
Panino With Mortadella

These were only some of our first suggestions on how to make your first authentic Italian sandwich. As you may know, Italian cuisine has so much more to offer, and we will talk about it in more detail here.

In the meantime, subscribe to our newsletter to stay updated with all things in the Italian kitchen.

Comments (2)

  • Janis

    thanks for your advice, it took away many doubts.

  • Janis

    Thanks for you advice, it took away many doubts.

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