From America's Test Kitchen Season 2: Spaghetti and Meatball Supper
Garlic bread is a classic accompaniment to spaghetti and meatballs, baked ziti, and countless other Italian favorites. It seems so simple, yet it often goes so wrong. We wanted to banish greasy, bland, and bitter-tasting garlic bread forever in favor of crisp toasted bread imbued with sweet, nutty garlic flavor.
Starting with the bread, we chose a substantial loaf of football-shaped Italian bread, the best quality we could find, to give us generous slices. We cut it in half horizontally, so that the surfaces would crisp up in the oven. We tamed the garlic’s harshness by toasting whole cloves, which turned them rich and mellow. We cut out the step of melting butter and simply spread it, after softening and mixing in the garlic, on the bread—not too much, so the bread wouldn’t be greasy or soggy. The addition of some grated Parmesan cheese was nearly undetectable, but it added a deep and complex flavor. For baking, we found that leaving the bread unwrapped on a baking sheet gave us the crispy crust we wanted, and exposure to the oven’s heat further mellowed the garlic.
Serves 6 to 8
Garlic bread is best served piping hot, so time it to arrive at the table last, once all the other dishes are finished and ready to serve.