Monday, February 18, 2013
Garlic & Herb Cheesy Bread
When my family and I are enjoying a homemade Italian meal, it is almost always requested that I make "the" bread. Unlike the Pioneer Woman, when my family asks for "the" bread it's not just a french bread loaf smeared in butter and broiled, it's my deliciously wonderful Garlic & Herb Cheesy Bread. It's heavenly made from a French bread loaf acquired at your grocery store or local bakery, but if you want to take it over the top, make your own No-Knead French Bread. It's a cinch, and you won't be disappointed.
Once you have your bread squared away, it's time to adorn it. You'll need 1 stick of salted butter.
Add about 1 Tbsp minced garlic. If you mince your own it would be about 3 cloves.
The flash was on over-drive, so I turned it off. The pics are a little dark now, but I think it's not so blinding. :)
Mix the softened butter (I just nuked mine in the microwave for 20 seconds or so, straight from the fridge.) with the garlic until they are one smooth mixture.
Slice your French bread loaf down the middle, horizontal like. (This is my No-Knead French Bread. Isn't it pretty?)
Smear each half of the loaf (cut side only please) with 1/2 of the butter and garlic mixture.
Next, crush some dried herbs between your hands and sprinkle evenly over each half.
I like to use about 1 Tbsp dry parsley and 2 tsp dry basil total. Put the bread in a preheated 350F oven for 8-10 minutes.
Next comes the cheese. You'll need both Mozzarella and Parmesan (or Romano).
After about 8 minutes (watch it carefully you don't want the edges to get too dark), the garlic butter will have melted and become one with the bread underneath. And the outside of the bread is getting a little crisp.
Sprinkle on 1 cup (per side) of Mozzarella and a little more than 1/4 cup Parmesan (per side). Basically, just cover the bread completely with cheese. Mozzarella first and then Parmesan, because the Parmesan gets more brown when broiled.
Last, but not least, another sprinkling of dry herbs. (About the same as before. 1 Tbsp parsley and 2 tsp of basil. I never measure exactly.) You want to make sure to use dry herbs because the fresh ones will just turn black and not taste good.
When the bread is completely covered in herbs and cheese, turn the broiler on high and put the bread in.
Keep an eye on it! After just a few minutes it will go from the picture above to this:
The bread is warm and crisp around the outside. The cheese is gooey and browned nicely.
You can cut it anyway you'd like, but we like to cut ours on the diagonal. It makes it seem more fancy I think. :)
Nothing left to do but serve it up with dinner. On this particular night we enjoyed it with Spaghetti Squash Spaghetti. A gluten free alternative to the usual favorite. It doesn't have to be an Italian night to have this bread. I'm serving it with Tri-Tip tomorrow night. It's hard to find a meal that it wouldn't marry with beautifully.
Here's the recipe:
Garlic & Herb Cheesy Bread
1 loaf of French Bread
1/2 cup salted butter, softened
1 Tbsp minced garlic (3-4 cloves)
2 Tbsp dry parsley, divided
4 tsp dry basil, divided
2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese
3/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Preheat the oven to 350F. Cut the loaf of bread in half horizontally. Place both halves, cut side up, on a baking sheet side by side. Mix the butter and garlic until smooth. Spread 1/2 of the garlic butter on each half of the bread (cut side only). Sprinkle on 1 Tbsp of dry parsley and 2 tsp of dry basil evenly over both halves. Bake the bread for 8-10 minutes. Take the bread out when the butter has soaked into the bread and the edges are starting to get crisp. Cover each half of bread with 1 cup of Mozzarella cheese and then with 1/2 of the Parmesan cheese. Top with another even sprinkle of dry herbs (same amounts as before) and put the bread back into the oven. Broil for 5 minutes, or until the edges are crisp and the cheese is brown. Cut into portions and serve.