wine night: french bread pizzas

I was inspired to make some homemade french bread pizza's ever since reading Kenji's fantastic post about them on The Food Lab.
 (Do you guys ready The Food Lab?  You should. It's James Beard nominated.)

Anywho, Kenji is known for attempting several iterations of a recipe in order to get the very best outcome.
Which is why you should always follow his advice.
I had to learn this the hard way.
Kenji's first attempt at french bread pizza resulted over-soggy bread due to the sauce soaking into it.
His fix was to put a thin layer of cheese on the bread, toast it, and finish with a layer of sauce and a final top layer of cheese.
I neglected his advice in an effort to cut calories ("twice the cheese?" I thought, "no need for that!").
I was wrong.
My pizza was a tad soggy.
But we still ate it all.
It was still good.
But next time, I'll pay heed to Kenji and The Food Lab. 

Here's my adapted recipe.
I still used the same amount of cheese for the calorie count, but now I instruct you to put half the cheese on first, toast the bread, and then sauce and use the remaining cheese.  
No matter how you do it, it's still fantastic.
I mean, what can really go wrong with bread, garlic butter, sauce, and cheese?

Make this for your Wine Night tonight!
Adapted from: The Food Lab
Serves:  6

  • 2 mini loafs (or one big loaf) par-baked frozen French bread (softer is better, not necessarily a baguette -  I used this kind)
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, grated
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning + a pinch for garnish
  • Kosher salt
  • 15 oz. prepared pizza sauce (I used Don Pepino brand) or use crushed tomatoes.
  • 1/2 cup (8 oz) part-skim shredded mozzarella
  • 1/4 cup shredded Romano cheese
  • 1 teaspoon grated reduced-fat parmesan

  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees F. 
  2. Remove bread from freezer and discard packaging.
  3. Place bread on center rack of oven and bake for 15 minutes (if you’re using fresh bread, only bake for 3 – 5 minutes here).
  4. Remove from oven and slice it in half length wise.
  5. Heat olive oil and butter in a medium sauce pan over medium-low heat until melted.
  6. Add garlic, red pepper flakes and Italian seasoning and cook until garlic is softened about 2 minutes.
  7. Smush (technical term here) the bread halves down with your hands to about 2/3 their original height (this is to prevent the bread from curling up).
  8. Brush bread halves with half of the flavored oil-butter mixture.  Top with ¼ Cup Romano cheese and put back into the oven for 3 minutes until cheese is just melted.
  9. Add pizza sauce to remaining oil-butter mixture.  Bring heat up to medium and stir to combine and heat sauce.  Season with salt and pepper.
  10. Spread sauce over the cheesy bread and top with mozzarella.
  11. Transfer to oven and bake for 10 minutes until cheese starts to bubble and brown.
  12. Top with a pinch of Italian seasoning and the grated parmesan. 
  13. Allow to cool slightly and slice into large portions before serving.
  • Calories:  393
  • Carbs:  5g
  • Fat:  21g
  • Protein:  5g

{image and gifs by me}
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