Raise your hand if you remember the Book It! Program! I do! I do! Ok, so for those of you who don’t know, Book It! was this incentive started by Pizza Hut to get kids reading. You read a certain number of books, you earned yourself a free personal pan pizza. Win! The program actually got started back when I was in elementary school, and since back then I read like it was my J-O-B I earned puh-lenty of those free pizzas. So once a month for the better part of the late 1980′s, my Mom would take me to Pizza Hut on a Saturday so I could claim my prize. And while we were there she would also order a plate of hot cheesy garlic bread for us to share.
I honestly don’t even know if Book It! is still around, since my kids have never brought home anything from school about it. But I do know, unfortunately, Pizza Hut no longer makes cheesy garlic bread the way they used to. They’ve gone the cheesy breadstick route, and it’s just not the same. So a couple weeks ago I was making pasta for dinner and the Crazies were asking for garlic bread…and so I made this garlic bread with fresh herbs, cheese, and a loaf of crusty bread, and it comes pretty darn close to that cheesy garlic bread of my childhood. Last night I made it for the third time in the last two weeks, and since it’s just too good not to share, here it is!
Here’s what you need…some cheese, herbs, garlic, butter, and crusty bread. That’s it!
Slice your loaf of bread in half and set it aside. You can use regular French or Italian bread for this, but try to find a good crusty loaf of artisan bread that has lots of little nooks and crannies on the inside. The butter, garlic, and herbs will seep down into those nooks and crannies and be like little pockets of flavor bursting in your mouth!
Next take your basil and stack the leaves on top of each other. And hey, don’t judge my basil. The store had exactly one package left so it’s not like I had much choice in this matter.
Roll up the leaves like a little cigar.
Slice the basil straight across into little ribbons. Technically this technique is called a chiffonade…but I put folding lawn chairs in my living room for people to watch the Superbowl last weekend. Fancy terminology doesn’t get used around here much. I’m just saying.
Chop up some parsley. By the way, there is no right or wrong amount here. I used four big basil leaves and grabbed a small handful of parsley. You can use as little or as much as you like and it will still be fabulous.
If you’re one of those people who are always prepared, you’ll have set your butter out the morning you want to make this and it’ll already be nice and soft. If you’re like me, it’ll be time to make dinner and your butter will still be cold and hard as a rock in the refrigerator. If that’s the case just soften it up in the microwave for about 15-20 seconds. You want it soft and spreadable, but not melted completely. Oh and P.S.! I’m using Sea Salt and Olive Oil Butter. But regular butter works fine too.
Press 6 cloves of garlic. If you don’t have a garlic press just chop the garlic as fine as you can.
Add the garlic to the softened butter.
Add the herbs.
Mix until well combined.
Spread both halves of the bread with the garlic herb butter and place them on a foil lined baking sheet.
Bake the bread at 400 degrees for 12 minutes.
Take the bread out of the oven after 12 minutes and then crank up the oven to broil. Let it preheat for a good 5 minutes so it’s nice and hot. In the meantime, evenly distribute all three types of cheese on top of the bread. You can really make this with any kind of cheese you like, but the combo my family liked best was Mozzarella, Gruyere, and a little bit of Romano.
Broil the bread for 1-2 minutes, or until the cheese is completely melted, bubbling, and golden brown in some spots. KEEP AN EYE ON IT! Sorry to shout at you, but everyone’s oven is different and I’ve burnt enough things under the broiler in my life to know how much it sucks.
Give the bread a couple minutes to cool down and then slice it however you want and serve. When this came out of the oven last night all my natural light was gone. So I actually
rescued saved what I could of this from my crazy clan and took these photographs this morning.
You probably won’t have any leftovers, but if you do you can totally refrigerate and reheat them. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m about to go devour the rest of this for breakfast. Enjoy!
- 1 Whole Loaf Crusty Artisan Bread
- 8 Tablespoons (2 sticks) Land O Lakes Sea Salt & Olive Oil Butter, Softened
- 6 Cloves Garlic, Pressed
- Handful Fresh Italian Flat Leaf Parsley, Chopped
- Handful Fresh Basil Leaves, Sliced Into Ribbons
- 1 Cup Mozzarella Cheese, Shredded
- ½ Cup Gruyere Cheese, Shredded
- 2 TBS Pecorino Romano Cheese, Shredded
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Slice the bread in half, lengthwise, and place both halves on a foil lined baking sheet with the cut side facing up.
- Add the butter to a small bowl. Add the herbs and garlic and mix until well combined.
- Evenly spread the garlic and herb butter on both halves of the bread.
- Bake at 400 degrees F for 12 minutes.
- Remove the bread from the oven and preheat the broiler for at least five minutes.
- Evenly distribute all three types of cheese on both halves of the bread.
- Broil for 1-2 minutes, or until the cheese is hot, bubbly, and golden brown in some spots.
- Cool for 1-2 minutes, slice, and serve.
- Leftovers should be refrigerated and reheated in the oven.