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A simple, layered sandwich

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Mortadella may just be the best sandwich meat there is. Run through with translucent spots of pork fat and sometimes slivers of pistachio, it’s tender yet springy when sliced deli-thin. Here, it’s layered with milky sweet ricotta to balance its savoriness, while pistachios add crunch and basil freshness. Home made focaccia turns this simple sandwich into a life-affirming meal, but reheated bakery-bought squares have a similar effect. If your deli counter sells mortadella, ask for it very thinly sliced.

Mortadella Sandwich with Ricotta and Pistachio Pesto


• 1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves

• 1/4 cup shelled pistachios

• 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Salt and black pepper

• 6 (4 1/2-inch) squares focaccia

• 1 1/4 pounds very thinly sliced mortadella

• 3/4 cup fresh ricotta

• 1 lemon


Finely chop the basil and pistachios together in a food processor or with a sharp knife. Transfer to a bowl, stir in the oil and season generously with salt and pepper.

If the focaccia isn’t freshly baked, toast lightly to warm but not crisp. Split each square in half through the fluffy middles.

Drape the mortadella over the bottom halves in wavy layered ribbons. Lightly spread the ricotta over the mortadella, then scatter over the pistachio pesto. Zest the lemon directly on top, then sandwich with the focaccia tops. Serve immediately.

Total time: 20 minutes, makes 6 sandwiches.

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