This is the perfect spring sandwich. Everyone has tomato and basil growing out of their ears right about now, right? I know my basil is out. of. control. Solution? Pesto.

This sandwich is a re-creation of something my infamous Aunt Kathy made for my sister in-law’s baby shower. I know I talk about Auntie’s cooking a lot, but I can’t help it – the woman knows her way around a kitchen! Anyhow, these sandwiches were so good that I had to go home and make my own re-creation of them immediately!!! Auntie gave me a rough idea of what she did and I ran with it!

(Auntie: I hope I did them justice!)


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Caprese Baguette with Pesto Mayo & Balsamic Reduction

Pesto Adapted from Ina Garten
Recipe Inspired by Aunt Kathy

Ingredients:

Pesto:
1/2 cup walnuts
3 tablespoons grated garlic (9-10 cloves)
5 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups good olive oil
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan

Balsamic Reduction:
3/4 cup balsamic vinegar

Other:
Loaf of fresh Italian Bread
Tomato, sliced
Fresh Mozzarella, sliced
Fresh Basil
1/2 cup mayonnaise

Directions:

Pesto:
Process the walnuts and garlic in a food processor until well chopped. Add the basil leaves, salt, and pepper. Turn the food processor on and slowly add oil (through the feeder) and process until well combined. Scrape down the sides and add the parmesan. Process for an additional few seconds. Taste and add additional salt/pepper if desired.

Note: Makes about 4 cups - but pesto freezes well! Place in small individual use airtight containers. Defrost when ready to use!

Balsamic Reduction*:
In a small saucepan, bring balsamic vinegar to a boil. Allow to reduce to about 2-3 tablespoons (takes about 8-10 minutes or so). Remove from heat, set aside, and allow to cool.

*May also find Balsamic Reduction or Balsamic Glaze pre-made in the same aisle as the vinegar at the grocery store.

To Assemble:
Slice Italian Bread into 5" pieces and then slice them open lengthwise (making 2 halves). Mix 3-4 tablespoons pesto into 1/2 cup mayonaise.

Spread pesto mayonaise onto both sides of baguette. Add fresh tomato and mozzarella slices, then top with basil leaves. Lastly, drizzle a little of the balsamic reduction on top.