Saturday, September 29, 2007
Scarpetta is the Italian word for wiping up the rest of your pasta sauce with a piece of bread. I'm glad there's a term for it because I love ending my meal with a piece of crusty bread and the bit of lingering sauce on my plate. What makes it even better is if it's a piece of garlic bread slathered with butter and toasted to golden perfection.
1 large loaf of Italian (or French) bread
1 stick of butter, at room temperature
Roughly 1/2 head of garlic (more or less depending on how much you like)
1/4 tsp dried Italian herbs
1 Tbsp of chopped Italian parsley (I used chives instead)
Optional: A few tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese (as much or as little as you'd like)
Optional Step: To cut the harshness of raw garlic, you can dry toast it in a skillet. The garlic will not be as smooth and creamy as roasted garlic but it will be a little mellower. Heat a skillet over medium high heat. Add the garlic cloves with skins on to the skillet and toast, shaking occasionally, until the skins are golden brown. When the cloves are cool enough to handle, peel the garlic and use as you would raw garlic in this recipe.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Slice the loaf of bread in half horizontally.
Put the garlic cloves through a press or smash and finely mince them. Add the garlic, parsley, crumble in the Italian herbs with the softened room temperature butter and mix until combined. Spread the butter to both sides of the bread. If you don't use all of it, you can always freeze it for another time.
Bake the bread until it is warmed through, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle the Parmesan on top if using, then broil the bread until the garlic butter side is golden brown. Keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn't burn. Time will depend on the strength of your broiler, anywhere from 1 to 3 minutes.
Variation: Roasted Garlic Bread
I like this roasted garlic variation more than the original garlic bread. Roasted garlic is sweeter, mellower, and smoother than raw garlic. You can even use the whole head of garlic rather than just half the head. The softened cloves make a delicious puree that's mixed with the butter. Add the herbs as you would normally and use the roasted garlic butter on your bread and bake in the same way.
How to roast garlic:
Slice off the top of a head of garlic exposing the cloves. Drizzle a bit of olive oil on the cloves, sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper and wrap the whole head in some aluminum foil. Roast in a 400 degree oven for about half an hour or until the garlic is soft and and brown. Squeeze out the cloves and use in pasta, on pizza, baked in bread, or spread on bread, etc.
More Garlic Bread Links
Elise's soft garlic bread looks delicious as well
Heidi adds lemon zest and chives to her Dad's garlic bread recipe