We love filling our summer days with picnics and trips to the beach, but we’ll be honest – planning our meals when we’re not going to be at home can be kind of stressful. Not every food holds up well in a cooler, and we don’t always have time to put together an elaborate portable feast on the same day as our outdoor adventure. But Giada De Laurentiis has the perfect solution. She just shared a totally make-ahead sandwich with all the flavors of your favorite Italian sub, and it’s even better the day after it’s made.
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It’s her take on a classic Italian muffuletta sandwich, which is a cold pressed sandwich chock full of cured meats, cheese, and pickled vegetables. De Laurentiis says in her cookbook Giada’s Italy: My Recipes for La Dolce Vita that muffulettas are one of her favorite things to bring to the beach or on a picnic, and it’s easy to see why.
The key to making the sandwich is hands-off time. De Laurentiis includes instructions for a robustly flavored olive, roasted pepper, garlic, and oregano vinaigrette, which is spread on both cut sides of your loaf of bread. Overnight, this vinaigrette soaks into the bread just enough to saturate it with flavor, but not so much that the thick bread becomes soggy.
In between the bread (use a round loaf, cut in half horizontally), layer on thinly sliced ham, mortadella, salami, and provolone cheese. Thinly sliced red onion and peppery arugula finish things off.
Add the top of the bread back to your sandwich, then wrap everything in plastic and let it sit overnight in the fridge. As it sits, the ingredients meld together, so each bite the next day is practically exploding with those iconic Italian flavors.
The next day, you can cut the sandwich into wedges and then wrap them individually in plastic wrap or wax paper (or an eco-friendly reusable wrap), placing them in your cooler or picnic basket to enjoy in the sun. If you’re going somewhere with a table, you can bring the sandwich as-is, and cut it into wedges to serve when you’re at your destination.
No more soggy tuna salad or dripping chicken Caesar salad wraps. Just you, the great outdoors, and a make-ahead Italian muffuletta sandwich layered with your favorite flavors.
In search of more summer recipes? Giada De Laurentiis has plenty:
Watch: How to Make Giada De Laurentiis’ Stuffed Lasagna Rolls
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