Rob's attempt to recreate our favorite garlic cheese bread was wildly successful.
So successful, in fact, that we may never buy it from a chain again, because ours was so much better. However, as you'll see below, he included a lot of garlic. This might not be the meal to serve to your in-laws.
Here's what Rob did to make it. Everything is pretty approximate, so adjust to your taste. Keep in mind that in our family, I'm the one who cooks healthily. While we were eating, Rob said, “I'm so glad you buy real butter and not margarine.” He used plenty of it. This is one of those special-occasion meals, with no flaxmeal in sight. However, if you make your garlic butter in advance and add your dough ingredients to your bread machine in the morning, this is totally doable as a weeknight meal.
First, Rob started with a pizza dough recipe from “The Best Bread Machine Cookbook Ever.”
He said the first round of making the dough didn't work (I later saw it looking goopy on top of our compost pile) so the second time around, he added about an extra 1/4-cup of all-purpose flour than listed below.
Dough for Pizza Rustica
11/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 cups bread flour (or add 2 tablespoons vital wheat gluten to all-purpose flour)
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2/3 cup water
Add ingredients to your bread machine and run on the dough cycle. Rob let the dough rise all day inside the bread machine.
When he was ready to cook, he pulled it out and rolled it on our flour-dusted kitchen table. He said he could have rolled it thinner, but it would've ended up too big for our pizza stone. He then preheated the oven to 375 degrees, as the recipe instructed.
Then Rob took a stick of butter (just call him Paula) and melted it in a bowl in the microwave with 2 heaping teaspoons of minced garlic. We buy the kind in the jar. He also added 2 tablespoons of dry Italian seasoning and about 1 heaping tablespoon of Parmesan cheese (it was actually the last we had, or he said he would have added more).
After melting this combination, he spooned about three-quarters of it onto the rolled dough and spread it evenly. He then topped the garlic-buttered dough with a whole bag of shredded Mozzarella cheese. (Try not to listen as your arteries cry for mercy.) He then baked the garlic cheesy bread for about 15 minutes. Keep an eye on your garlic bread and take it out of the oven when it gets golden and bubbly.
He served it with the leftover garlic butter (we obviously needed more) and a tomato-based dipping sauce. Rob made that by taking another heaping teaspoon of garlic, half a minced onion (we happen to only have Vidalias at this moment, which made this sauce so good) and sauteed them in a little olive oil. He added a can of tomato paste, a tomato-paste can of water and a teaspoon of cayenne pepper (adjust to your preference). He let it simmer a bit and then added about two tablespoons of Mozzarella cheese. It's then ready to to serve.
This dinner was so much better than a dinner out or bringing in pizza. I told Rob he could definitely make it again. He thinks he might might be ready to try again this Friday.
I'll have a post coming, probably next week, with links to other people's favorite homemade restaurant recipes. I'd still love it if you emailed me your favorite. Or, if you'd like ask in the comments about a recipe you'd like to recreate, maybe other readers could help you track one down.
Photo still from this Flickr page.