Ok-go workout. NOW. Go exercise and burn as many calories as you possibly can. Seriously. Why, you may ask? Because when you make this next recipe, you will not be able to control yourself. Not even a little bit. You will want to eat the whole thing, and possibly, even go back and make some more. It is that good. Soft bread with a chewy crust. Nutty pesto mixed with thick, creamy creme fraiche. Ripe, juicy and sweet tomatoes and gooey mozzarella cheese to top it off. Hungry? Go ahead, try out this recipe, you will not be disappointed. I made it tonight with a simple marinated grilled chicken and roasted asparagus. This bread is really the star of the show, so not much else is needed besides a knife to cut it into pieces (if that is really even necessary!:) and a napkin to wipe your mouth so no one ever suspects how much Pesto Mozzarella Bread you really ate.
I used a Rosemary Pugliese bread for mine, but you can really use any good fresh bread. You can even bake your own focaccia if you have time. The toppings really steal the thunder of the bread so as long as it is fresh and you like it, it should be fine.
As far as the pesto part of the recipe, this is once again, your choice. I make my own pesto a little different with pine nuts (1/2 cup), walnuts (1/4 cup), basil (1/2 cup), salt, pepper and olive oil pulsed in a food processor until the consistency is right. Feel free to use this recipe, or create your own. Pestos use garlic, basil, parmesan, and typically pine nuts. I have tried it with all sorts of different kinds of nuts, some of the above ingredients, and even arugula and spinach instead of the basil. Make sure you use a good extra virgin olive oil. Play around with the flavors if you are going to create your own, until you find the flavor and consistency that you like. As far as I am concerned, there is no right answer when it comes to pesto. Make it how you like it. Pesto originates from the Italian word, “pestare” which means to pound or to crush. SO…as long as you take your ingredients and crush them to death with your food processor, feel free to call it pesto. I am Italian so I believe I have full rights to give you permission! Of course, a store bought jarred pesto will do the trick too, but fresh is always best!
Pesto Mozzarella Bread
1 loaf of your favorite bread, sliced lengthwise into 2 big halves
1/2 cup pesto
1/2 cup creme fraiche * or sour cream
1 1/2 tsp sugar
Cherry tomatoes, split in half (enough to cover your bread)
Freshly ground pepper
Mozzarella cheese fresh or shredded (enough to cover your bread)
Mix pesto, creme fraiche and sugar in a bowl. Spread onto bread. Cover with cherry tomatoes. Sprinkle them with pepper. Cover bread with mozzarella. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until cheese is browned and bubbly. Cool for five minutes out of the over. Slice or consume entire loaf on your own. Your choice. You will not be judged. 🙂
*Creme Fraiche can be bought at the grocery store, or you can easily (and much more cheaply) make your own. It is really easy. Do not be scared off by this recipe. I have made it, consumed it and nothing awful has happened to me. I know the directions can be a bit ….ummm…strange to some, but it really works and tastes WONDERFUL! It can even be sweetened and used in conjunction with the Chocolate Lovers Dream Cake .
Give it a try! I know you will appreciate the results!
1 cup whipping cream (NOT ultra pasteurized, just pasteurized)
2 tblsp buttermilk
Combine ingredients in a jar or other glass container and cover loosely. Let it stand at room temperature for 12-24 hours or until it begins to thicken. Stir well and refrigerate. Should stay fresh for up to two weeks.