Have you ever been to a high-end Italian restaurant, and you look in the back kitchen where the cooks—all wearing white hats (called a toque)—are busily preparing meals for the patrons while the waiters dash between tables with wine and bread?
Every now and then an Italian voice reaches your ears. The mandolins and guitars strum softly in the background. Italian flags on every wall…
The most memorable Italian food, for me, is the bread. Yes, the spaghetti and pasta are great but that bread is amazing. That bread!!! There must be a brick oven in the back cooking everything from scratch, but How do they make that delectable garlic bread? The waitperson brings the bread before the meal, and it’s so amazing that I always eat too much and have no room for pasta!
And when the garlic bread arrives, you take a bite and it’s so good you are convinced it was sprinkled with some magic dust from Italy. There is absolutely no chance you could reproduce something so scrumptious in your own kitchen!
I’m here to tell you that you can, and I’m going to share with you my hand-me-down recipe from my great-great Italian grandmother. Yup, that would be my mother’s great grandmother from Italy. She didn’t speak a word of English.
Of course they didn’t have electric ovens back in the Old Country, or garlic graters and maybe no sticks of butter from the refrigerator, and for certain no pre-grated Parmesan cheese from the grocery store, so I suspect what I am about to reveal took a lot more effort than you need to make this amazing bread.
- 1 stick butter
- 4 large cloves garlic
- 1 16 oz load of bread (don't get the cheapest)
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
- Pinch of fresh parsley
- Slice the loaf of bread into (about) 1-inch thick slices and lay then flat on a cookie sheet. Put the butter into a small bowl. Peel the garlic cloves and crush or grate them into small pieces and mix into the butter. Spread each bread slice with enough garlic-butter to lightly coat the top.
- Turn oven on Broil and place the cookie sheet with bread slices into the oven. Make sure to monitor the bread closely as it will only take about 2-5 minutes before it develops a light brown crust on top.
- When you can barely notice the toasty brown color, remove it from the oven and sprinkle on the Parmesan cheese and parsley then return to the oven. Again monitor the bread closely as it will take only about a minute to finish cooking to your preferred consistency. Remove and serve.