Recipes

We Heart Pizza Bread

Giving some love to an American classic
0 Ratings

Not every pizza has to be ordained by the hard-nosed Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana to qualify as a delicious pie. Take pizza bread: Smothered in molten cheese, cushioned by a plush pillow of bread, and hot and saucy in all the right spots, this is in no way, shape or form a traditional pizza. We love it nonetheless, because when you cook homemade pizza sauce and top a torpedo of good Italian bread with quality cheese, you create pizza bread worth revisiting--even if it does involve finger-wagging by the pizza polizia.

Pizza Bread

Recipe from the Tasting Table Test Kitchen

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

Pizza Bread

One loaf ciabatta or other long Italian loaf (not too crusty), halved lengthwise

2 garlic cloves, smashed

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided

2½ cups grated good-quality mozzarella cheese

¼ cup grated aged Gouda cheese (optional; can be substituted with more mozzarella)

⅓ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

⅓ cup finely chopped basil leaves, divided

Sauce

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

⅛ teaspoon dried oregano

Pinch red pepper flakes

1½ cups canned tomato purée or strained tomato sauce

1 teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

3 roughly chopped basil leaves

Directions

1. Prepare the pizza bread: Adjust the oven racks to the upper-middle and middle positions and set the broiler to high. Place the ciabatta bread cut-side up on a cutting board and rub with the smashed garlic (reserve the garlic to make the sauce). Use a pastry brush to dab about 2 tablespoons of the olive oil onto each bread half. On a rimmed baking sheet, set the bread and broil until the edges are lightly browned and the garlic and oil are sizzling, 1 to 2 minutes (watch the bread closely as broiler intensities vary). Remove from the oven and set aside.

2. Make the sauce: Finely chop the reserved garlic and add to a large skillet along with the olive oil. Cook over medium heat until the garlic is fragrant and sizzling, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the oregano and red pepper flakes and cook until sizzling, 20 to 30 seconds, then pour in the tomato sauce. Stir in the salt and pepper, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook until slightly reduced, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the basil and set aside.

3. Make the pizza bread: In a large bowl, stir together the mozzarella, Gouda and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheeses. Add ¼ cup of the chopped basil and stir to combine. Top each bread half with ⅓ to ½ cup of pizza sauce (depending on how saucy you like your pizza bread). Divide the grated cheese between the sauce-covered bread halves, spreading the cheese into an even layer.

4. Return the baking sheet to the oven on the middle rack (you may need to remove the upper-middle rack so the pizza bread fits) and continue to broil until the cheese is melted, bubbling and golden, 5 to 7 minutes (watch the pizza bread closely as broiler intensities vary).

5. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the remaining chopped basil. Wait a minute or two before slicing crosswise. Serve.

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