Roasted Asparagus Grilled Cheese with Aritchoke & Arugula Pesto

What a mouthful!  This is not your mom’s basic grilled cheese, that’s for sure.  From the sort of peppery, nutty pesto, to the smoky cheese and slight crunch from the roasted asparagus this is anything but ordinary.  We really enjoyed these sandwiches, and I think you will too.

A couple of notes… first off this makes a lot of pesto.  Way more than we needed.  The recipe stated that it served one, so I naturally doubled everything for my husband and I, but I definitely could have made both sandwiches with one batch of pesto.  This may not be a problem though if you wanted to have a little extra pesto on hand for pasta the next night perhaps, or to serve with some crusty bread perhaps.  Another thing, and this may just be me, but I find it nearly impossible to slice those small rounds of gouda.  Because of this I likely got much more cheese in my “slices” than was intended.  This, again, may or may not be a problem for you.  I like a lot of cheese so I really didn’t mind, but I will say that it was a bit messy with the oozing cheese and seemed a bit heavier for it.  And my last note would be regarding the asparagus…. the spears I got seemed pretty thin so I just used enough to cover the width of the bread.  I also roasted them a bit longer than 5 minutes since that seemed rather short to me.  I actually made extra and we just served the rest alongside the sandwiches.

I made mine in a panini press type thing, but you can certainly just cook them in a skillet like you would with a basic grilled cheese.  You just won’t get the pretty marks.  It’s a bit of work to get these assembled… especially when you consider they are called Grilled Cheese and when you think of that you think SIMPLE, but sometimes a little more effort is worth it!  I couldn’t find raw pistachios so ended up having to use roasted with sea salt.  So I just held off on the extra salt and that seemed fine.

Whether you don’t eat meat, or just want to mix things up a bit these would make a great dinner or even a nice lunch.

*Note, the recipe originally mentioned smoked gouda in the ingredients list, but then gruyere in the directions.  I have changed it for my post, but I honestly don’t know which was inteded.  If you prefer gruyere, go for it!

Roasted Asparagus Grilled Cheese with Artichoke & Arugula Pesto

Makes : 1 (or two if you double the sandwich ingredients)

Ingredients :

  • 4-5 spears of asparagus
  • 1/2 tsp. olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 T. artichoke and arugula pesto (recipe follows)
  • 2 slices smoked gouda
  • 1 T. softened butter
  • 1 T. grated parmesan
  • 2 slices of your favorite bread

Pesto :

  • 1/4 cup raw pistachios
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/2 cup arugula leaves
  • 1 cup artichoke hearts (rinsed and drained if using canned)
  • juice of half a lemon (I also added zest)
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/8 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 T. olive oil

Directions :

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Combine the pistachios and garlic in a food processor and pulse until fine. Add the parsley and arugula and process for a minute or two, scraping the sides as necessary, until all greens are very finely chopped. Pour in the artichokes, lemon, salt and pepper, then process until the mixture is creamy and mostly smooth. Slowly pour in the olive oil while the processor is running so that the pesto slightly thickens and becomes smoother. Taste and adjust salt and pepper to your liking.
  3. Cut the tough ends off of 4 pieces of asparagus, then coat with olive oil. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper, then roast for 5 minutes in the preheated oven.
  4. Spread the pesto on two pieces of bread, then stack a slice of gouda, the 4 asparagus spears, and another slice of gouda on one side. Top with the other slice of bread.
  5. Combine the softened butter and parmesan in a small bowl, then spread on the top and bottom of the sandwich. Cook in a non-stick skillet, griddle, or panini press over medium heat until golden brown (3-4 minutes). If you’re using a skillet or griddle, flip and cook on the other side, then eat up!

Recipe from Veggie and the Beast

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