We eat Italian food nearly once a week.
And by Italian, I mean spaghetti and meatballs. Folks, I live with a 5-year old who isn’t willing to try much more than macaroni and cheese, hot dogs, chicken nuggets, and yep–spaghetti.
So I try to jazz up our spaghetti nights however I can, which usually involves doing something with bread. Anyone else a huge bread fanatic? As in: you could easily eat this entire loaf yourself and call it a meal?
Now, the Tall Boy loves the loaves of garlic bread you buy from your grocer that come pre-sliced and filled with seasoned butter–and as much as I love butter, those loaves are actually too buttery for me.
This bread was the perfect solution: you can control the amount of butter to your tastes, and there is a huge pile of melted cheese on top. Melted cheese makes me happy.
On my loaf, I used Kraft’s Italian Five Cheese shredded cheese: it has a combination of Mozzarella, Provolone, Romano, Asiago, and Parmesan all shredded and ready to go. While there are times I prefer to grate my own cheese, a quick spaghetti night dinner is not one of those times.
Garlic + butter = heaven.
Add your sautéed garlic to a bowl with some softened butter, a few spices, and smear it all over your halved Italian loaf. Press the halves back together and wrap that bad boy in foil. Baking your loaf this way steams the bread and infuses it with the garlic-butter flavor.
Garlic-butter infused bread = heaven.
Bake it at 400 degrees for 15 minutes – then unwrap it, sprinkle Italian blend cheese on top and broil for a few more minutes, or until the cheese starts browning just a bit on top.
Also? Here’s the best tip ever from the trusty Cook’s Illustrated: when using a serrated knife to slice your cheesy bread, place your finished bread cheese side down on your cutting board. Slicing through the bread first keeps that gooey cheese in place!
- 5 garlic cloves, finely minced or grated
- 8 tablespoons (or less, depending on your tastes) unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 teaspoon water
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1-2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
- 1 Italian bread loaf or baguette, halved horizontally (mine was about 16 to 18 inches)
- 1 1/2 cups Italian blend cheese, like Kraft Italian Five-Cheese Blend
- Preheat oven to 400 and position oven rack to the middle position.
- Cook your garlic, 1 tablespoon butter, and 1/2 teaspoon water in a small skillet over low heat, stirring occasionally, until garlic turns straw colored - about 10 minutes.
- Mix your sauteed garlic with the remaining 7 tablespoons butter, salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning in a small bowl; smear it over the cut sides of your loaf. Press the buttered sides together, and wrap the loaf in foil. Place it on a foil lined baking sheet, and bake for 15 minutes.
- Unwrap bread from foil and place the buttered sides up back onto your baking sheet. Turn on broiler. Sprinkle your bread with cheese, and broil for 2-3 minutes, or until cheese has melted.
- Remove bread to cutting board, and slice, cheese side down.
adapted from Cook's Illustrated