This recipe for panini with Taleggio cheese, grilled radicchio, and speck isn’t for those eaters who crave bland or mild sandwiches. Full of assertive flavors, it covers all the bases–earthy Taleggio, bitter radicchio, smoky speck, and sweet walnuts. You’re welcome.

The formal, multi-course meals that Italy is known for give way to piatto unico–one dish meals that are well-balanced, hearty, and can include dishes such as bountiful main course panini. They’re prepared with the same love and passion that are so essential to Italian cooking, yet are still creative and flexible enough for improvisation and unusual combinations to fit anyone’s taste.-–Toni Lydecker


If you’re shaking your head in disappointment, muttering to yourself, “Damn! If only I had a panini maker…,” stop right there and read this recipe. No panini maker required. However…we do understand the allure of crisply toasted and pressed ‘wich. A waffle maker works like a charm on panini, as does weighing down the sandwich, like a muffuletta, before cooking. Wrap it up and put in the fridge with a weight on top–a small skillet or a plate with a can of tomatoes will do the trick– then grill after a few hours of pressing. Ta-da!

You can also make a toasted version of this sandwich using sliced country-style white or whole-wheat bread. Just assemble as above, heat a little olive oil in a skillet, and toast the sandwiches, turning once, until golden brown on each side. See how easy that disappointment was quelled? You’re welcome.

A warm panini with taleggio, grilled radicchio, and speck sandwich cut into thirds with a knife in front of the sandwich.

Panini with Taleggio, Grilled Radicchio, and Speck

5 / 3 votes
Panini, like sandwiches everywhere, invite the maker to branch out in creative directions. This combination brings together several strong-willed ingredients, all shouting, “Taste me!” Fortunately, their insistent voices harmonize in these warm, delicious panini.
Servings4 sandwiches
Calories536 kcal
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Total Time25 minutes


  • Olive oil
  • 1 small to medium head radicchio cored and shredded
  • 1 loaf Ciabatta or a long baguette
  • 8 ounces Taleggio or soft Gorgonzola cheese at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup walnut halves broken into pieces
  • 4 to 6 ounces thinly sliced speck, prosciutto, mortadella or some of each


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (176°C).
  • Place a large skillet over medium-high heat and pour in just enough olive oil to barely coat the surface. Scatter the radicchio in the skillet and cook, stirring a couple of times, until the leaves are barely wilted and lightly charred at the edges, about 2 minutes.
  • Using a serrated knife, slice the bread in half horizontally. (Ciabatta and baguette typically have more crust than crumb, but if your loaf has a good deal of crumb inside, use your fingers to tear most of it out and reserve it for another purpose, such as making bread crumbs.)
  • Spread the cheese over both cut sides of the loaf. Sprinkle one or both sides of the loaf with the walnuts. Place the radicchio on one half of the loaf, top with the sliced meat, and sandwich with the other half. Press gently and wrap the sandwich loaf in aluminum foil. (You can refrigerate the sandwich for up to several hours.).
  • Bake the sandwich loaf until warmed through, 10 to 15 minutes. Cut it crosswise to create 4 panini. Serve hot, while the cheese is oozy and the walnuts still crunchy and the radicchio not yet entirely wilted.
Piatto Unico

Adapted From

Piatto Unico

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Serving: 1 sandwichCalories: 536 kcalCarbohydrates: 35 gProtein: 22 gFat: 36 gSaturated Fat: 15 gPolyunsaturated Fat: 9 gMonounsaturated Fat: 6 gTrans Fat: 1 gCholesterol: 64 mgSodium: 1189 mgPotassium: 234 mgFiber: 2 gSugar: 1 gVitamin A: 1129 IUVitamin C: 3 mgCalcium: 329 mgIron: 1 mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2011 Toni Lydecker. Photo © 2011 Tina Rupp. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

“It’s just a sandwich,” you might think. However, this has the salty texture of cured meats, the earthy crunch of walnuts, and the bittersweet touch of radicchio, all held together by oozing Taleggio. No, this is definitely more than “just a sandwich.”

You could use regular ciabatta, but I think that two mini ciabatta have the better feel for a custom sandwich. I managed to find a whole-grain version that added a bit more texture and opted to use all three meats. I’m a pushover for a great sub, which this is, basically.

This was an easy, quick, and quite tasty sandwich. I appreciated the slight bitterness from the radicchio, and the slight sweetness of the walnuts was wonderful. I initially thought they’d be distracting in the sandwich, but their presence was quite welcome. Speck was a bit hard to find, so I opted for the easier prosciutto, which made for a fine bit of salty goodness.

Loved the crispy crunch of the crusty bread sans the bready parts and the earthy gooeyness of the Taleggio, which was a perfect cheese for this sandwich. I loved the easy assembly as a whole (although I plonked everything on one side and then just topped with the other half of bread)—make ahead, bake later, and then cut into parts—as well.

It might be nice smeared with a bit of pesto prior to baking as well. This would be a good game-day or holiday open house sandwich to have on hand.

This was a very interesting and good sandwich. I couldn’t find the cheese that the recipe calls for, so I used Cambozola cheese, which is a creamy blue cheese–like cheese, so I thought it’d work. I also couldn’t find speck, so I used prosciutto. I really liked the way all the flavors and textures came together. This was a new cheese for me and a new flavor combo with the radicchio and prosciutto.

I opted to make the variation of the sandwich (i.e., toasted) and that worked well. I used some good whole-wheat bread and because I had all the ingredients, I ate the sandwich a couple times over a week.

One thing that I think would be a nice addition to this sandwich would be some apple slices or pear slices, or maybe it should just be eaten with an apple or pear, to cut the richness of the sandwich a bit. This will definitely be a new go-to version for when I’m craving a grilled cheese!

An easy weekend lunch filled with taste and extremely filling. I used ciabatta rolls. I did all of the panini according to the directions, although my daughters aren’t fans of Taleggio, so I substituted brie slices. Everyone absolutely loved the panini and asked for this to become a weekend staple.

The nice thing about it is that it can so very easily be adjusted to people’s different tastes yet still end up an amazing sandwich. We had 3 leftover and when we warmed them in the oven again they came out just as good as the first time.

About David Leite

David Leite has received three James Beard Awards for his writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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Recipe Rating


  1. Oh, my, Italy on a bun! What a glorious combination of flavors! I do think these strong flavors would match up and complement each other so beautifully! We love these typical Italian ingredients but I’ve never thought to bring them together on a panini but now I do.

    1. And when you do, dear Jamie, let us know what you think. (But, honestly, how can you not love it, right?!)