Garlic Bread

Dressing up a regular loaf of fresh bread makes it that much more irresistible.  I adapted this recipe from the Barefoot Contessa and it’s unbelievably tasty and full of vibrant, fresh flavors.  Just don’t make it for a new beau, cause that garlic sure packs a punch.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 large loaf ciabatta bread
  • 6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh oregano, chopped
  • 2 tbsp pesto (you could also use plain fresh basil, chopped)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, softened

HOW TO MAKE IT

  • Place the garlic in the bowl of a food processor and process until minced.  Add the parsley, oregano, basil and salt and pepper and pulse until the herbs are finely chopped.
  • Heat the olive oil in a small saute pan and add the garlic mixture – saute until the garlic is fragrant – you don’t want to overcook it, you’re just getting rid of the raw garlic flavor.
  • Slice the bread in half horizontally and spread 1 tbsp of butter on each half of bread
  • Spread the garlic mixture evenly on each half of bread (depending on the size of your loaf, you might not need all of the mixture – reserve the extra for another day)
  • Put the halves back together, wrap in aluminum foil and bake at 350°F for 5 minutes
  • After 5 minutes, open the foil up and open the bread so the inside can get a little toasty – bake for an additional 5 minutes

White Bean Dip

This spread is a nice alternative to hummus.  When you season it with typical “Italian” flavors, it makes it a great appetizer to an Italian meal.  

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 – 15 oz. can canellini (white) beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (plus a bit for drizzling)
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed flat leafed parsley, or 3/4 tbsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • Pinch of dried rosemary (optional: tastes great without it, too)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, pressed (you can also used roasted garlic puree)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

HOW TO MAKE IT

  • Combine all of the ingredients in a food processor
  • Pulse about 5 or 6 times – you want it to be smooth, but not totally smooth – it’s nice to have a little chunk in this dip (if you prefer a totally smooth dip, just process until smooth)

Serving Options…

    • Serve with pita chips (I like to serve this with Stacy’s Parmesan Garlic and Herb pita chips) and fresh veggies, or
    • Serve on top of slices of toasted french baguette brushed with olive oil

Robust Red Sauce

This red sauce is rich in flavor and has a little bit of a kick.  It goes well with any Italian dish and I use it with a lot more than just spaghetti and meatballs…

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1 – 28 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 1 – 28 oz. can Pastene ‘Kitchen Ready’ tomatoes (if you want a smooth sauce, use 2 cans of this instead of the diced)
  • 1/3 cup red wine (one you would drink)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • Red pepper flakes to taste
  • Salt and pepper to taste

HOW TO MAKE IT

  • In a large pot, heat 1 tbsp olive oil and then add the garlic – saute until fragrant
  • Add in the cans of tomatoes and the rest of the olive oil and turn the heat up to medium-high, bringing the sauce to a boil
  • Add the red wine  
  • Season the sauce with the oregano, basil, red pepper flakes and salt and pepper
  • Reduce the heat to low and simmer uncovered for about 1 hour (or until it begins to thicken), stirring frequently – I usually also break up the large tomato chunks with the back of the spoon

Faux-coccia

This quick and easy bread is a weeknight staple in our house – it pairs very well with any pasta dish.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 lb. bakery dough
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp chopped garlic in oil or garlic puree (comes in a jar)
  • Dried oregano to taste
  • Dried crushed rosemary to taste
  • Red pepper flakes to taste
  • Parmesan cheese

HOW TO MAKE IT

  • On a floured surface, roll your dough out into an organic shape (we’re not making a pizza here, so it doesn’t need to be a circle)
  • Transfer the dough onto a greased baking sheet
  • Drizzle 1 tsp of olive oil on top of the dough – spread it so it coats the whole surface
  • Spread the garlic evenly across the dough
  • Sprinkle the oregano, rosemary and red pepper flakes
  • Top it off with the Parmesan cheese
  • Bake at 350°F for 20-25 mins