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Autogrill rest stops

I was in Italy in 2005, and the group I was traveling with stopped at an Autogrill. I got one of their paninis, but for the life of me I can't remember what it was called. I know it was on a baguette, and had prosciutto, spinach, and some sort of soft cheese (along the lines of ricotta, but not). Honestly, and this is odd to say, but it was probably the best sandwich I've ever had, especially since it was so simple. I'm trying to find out what it was called so I can get the rest of the recipe. Anyone have any ideas?

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  1. Autogrill does, it seems, give names to their panini, but if it's their "creation", I doubt that you would find a recipe for it.

    Could the cheese have been mascarpone?

    1. This idiotic quiz show I watch in the evening while I'm cooking had a question on names of Autogrill panini (please! one panino, two panini; "paninis" doesn’t exist). I was fascinated and Googled them and found quite a bit, but this morning nothing I found was useful, not even on autogrill.com. But that doesn’t mean a little diligence couldn’t produce results...

      1. Wasn't it called Piadina?
        I use to stop in those autogrills all the time when going to Italy and honestly I've never eaten anything bad in there....

        1 Reply
        1. re: Vanzzz

          It might be piadina if you were in Emilia-Romagna. Thats typical there.

        2. I'm pretty sure the name of the cheese is stracchino. It's a soft white cheese, not exactly spreadable and is fairly neutral in flavor. They make a similar sandwich at this place I go to and call in an "emiliano". Instead of spinach they put in rucola though.

          4 Replies
          1. re: mguida

            The two best sandwiches that AutoGrill has are the Olivia (panini made with large chunks of olive in the bread) and Capri (mortadella and provolone). You can make these even better by spending another E 6 and buying the Calabrian hot pepper spread that they sell.

            1. re: Joe H

              Can you tell me what else is in the capri? I want to make my own.

              1. re: Joe H

                I'm partial to the chicken cutlet (Milanese) and the "Popeye" (spinach and mozzarella).

              2. re: mguida

                I tried this too ---it's too gooey

              3. Sorry for being off topic, but Oh my, Just the thought of the place reminds me of how good their cappuccino was, and for .90 E !
                People here at home don't believe me when I tell them the cappuccino at a gas station in italy is far better than anything here in the states! Loved the sandwiches as well!

                2 Replies
                1. re: mdobson

                  I feel ya. The contrast between the US's industrial, cheap-food, roadside blech and Italy's Autogrill couldn't be more stark. I love the holiday displays of regional sweets, too. Never gonna find that at a US truck stop.

                  1. re: Hungry Celeste

                    Hungry Celeste, thank you for a great website! Really enjoyed reading it. We will toast you next week at the AutoGrill. We'll each order a panini and I'll add the Calabrian hot peppers to mine. And a Coke Light for the parking lot where we'll scarf them down. Still, a quick, but great meal that we can't find on a highway in the U. S. Frankly, the AutoGrill really does have a great deal in common with California's In-n-Out Burger: in each of their own ways they are memorable.

                    Of course, I should add that I have similar memories for a half dozen or more dishes in Louisiana! Actually, when I think about it, I'm really not so sure that we will be eating any better in Italy than you will in your back yard...

                2. The sandwich is called"icaro" and that was rocket(arugola)I just went to make this today but am still having trouble finding out the cheese.It's not mascarpone either it reminded me of the texture and flavor of goat cheese.Thanks Ciao

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: adamgarrett

                    The sandwich I'm obsessed with at Autogrill is the "Rustichella" - (not sure on spelling) i believe it's piadina as well. My husband and I are trying to replicate it - it sounds a lot like the "icaro". Cheese, spinach and prosciutto, I can't quite remember specifics. It's been 2 years since i had one, and believe me, I would go back just for this sandwich and the pizza at 'Gusto.

                    1. re: adamgarrett

                      you know, I can't remember the name either but i can absolutely taste that cheese! I had that very same panino last trip and nothing tastes better!

                      1. re: adamgarrett

                        I realise I've joined the party a little late...but the name of the cheese in the Icaro is Robiola - which is a fresh cheese that's spreadable. It's not too dissimilar to stracchino or crescenza...but I think all of these are quite hard to find outside of Italy...because they literally, only keep for a few days.

                        I live in Spain and you'd think I'd be able to find it a little easier here...but not so. A friend of mine owns an Italian restaurant here, and even she has trouble importing these cheeses for the panini/piandine on her menu. When she's out of stock, she has to substitute with a high quality cream cheese made in spain. good luck finding a supplier!

                        Someone also mentioned the rustichella...which is on a piadina with smoked pancetta, provolone, and origano.

                        1. re: msmarabini

                          That sounds about right, msmarabini. A friend of mine suggested neufchatel, but that didn't sound quite like it. It was very creamy and made the sandwich. Thanks!

                      2. I been to Italy a few times and always enjoyed the Autogrill stops. I had the icaro panini many times... love it. When I get back to the states, I'd get a couple slices of rustic tuscan bread drizzled with olive oil, add some prosciutto, fresh mozzerella, a few fresh basil leaves, and once in a while I'll add roasted red peppers. I'll toss it into the george formen grill.... and "presto".... I'm back in Italy. I know I'm not making the exact panini... but you can't go wrong with those ingredients. Don't forget a glass of montepulciano.