Who likes garlic bread? Raise your hand.
OK, I see the majority of you are fans of the "stinking rose."
Now, who loves pizza?
Ah, even more.
So, what could be more serendipitous than pairing garlic bread with pizza?
Bake a loaf of bread – to make it an optimal shape and size for pizza, we'll make ciabatta.
Next, add your favorite garlic bread toppings, which can include butter, oil, garlic, cheese, herbs... however you like your garlic bread.
Then, turn it into pizza with your favorite toppings.
Simple. Ingenious. Tasty!
Yes? Let's do it.
The first thing we'll do is bake that loaf of ciabatta bread. Instead of the usual oval shape, though, we'll bake it in a round.
Hey, you prefer oval? Go for it. Oval pizza is no less tasty than round!
Here's my favorite ciabatta recipe, complete with blog post showing the steps you'll take to make a wonderful chewy loaf, filled with ciabatta's signature air pockets.
The recipe calls for you to divide the dough in half, and make two loaves. For this purpose, we'll make just a single large loaf.
And here's the finished loaf. Kind of round. More or less. About 12" x 14", actually.
I'm just going to cut this baby in half around the equator.
If you don't have an extra-long serrated knife, just use the longest one you have. Cut all around the edges, then work into the middle once the edges are done.
Ah, those holes... SO perfect for catching melted butter and olive oil and bits of garlic!
Speaking of which – let's go ahead and make this ciabatta into garlic bread.
Preheat your oven to 400°F.
Combine the following in a mini food processor:
1 medium head of garlic, cloves separated and peeled (about 15 medium cloves)
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup olive oil
1/16 teaspoon salt (a pinch)
Process until the garlic is minced. If you don't have a processor, mince the garlic by hand, and combine with the remaining ingredients.
Brush the garlic butter on the cut sides of both rounds.
Sprinkle with coarsely shredded Parmesan cheese – as much or little as you like. I used about 1/2 cup per pizza.
Ah, mozzarella! You'll need a pound, total; 8 ounces for each pizza.
I'm using fresh mozzarella, but either fresh or "standard" are OK. As is shredded; it simply won't look as nice.
Slice the mozzarella about 1/4" thick.
Lay the cheese atop the ciabatta halves.
Notice there's no Parm on this one. Whoops... I went back and added it after I'd taken the photo.
Next up: cherry tomatoes.
If your garden is exploding with cherry tomatoes right about now, this is a good thing to do with them: sauté them quickly over high heat in a bit of vegetable oil, just until they're beginning to brown and soften, but not so long that they burst and leak.
The resulting charred tomatoes can be used to top a pizza or pasta; chilled and added to salad; or frozen for next winter's soups, stews, and sauces.
I used about a pound of tomatoes for each pizza.
Space the tomatoes around the mozzarella slices.
Bake the pizza for about 23 minutes, until the cheese has melted and is beginning to brown slightly.
While the pizza's baking, go out back and snip some fresh herbs. I'm using oregano, parsley, and chives.
Remove the pizza from the oven...
...and sprinkle with the fresh herbs.
See how they dress it up?
What, no basil, you ask? If you're going for looks, avoid fresh basil; once it hits the pizza's heat, it turns black. Immediately.
The ciabatta "crust" is crunchy/light, and packed with garlicky punch.
And ah, yes, those air pockets: each one holds its own infinitesimal pool of garlic butter.
Crunchy, oozy/melty, tasty, garlicky, colorful, quick & easy (once the ciabatta's made) – you can't beat garlic bread pizza!
And, as always, the Baking Police have left the building. Use your own favorite toppings; these are just what I happen to like. Make the pizza on a regular crust; ciabatta is simply a suggestion. Don't like garlic? Don't use it.
Don't like pizza? Don't make it! The world is awash with wonderful recipes; bake what you like, when and how you like it, and you can't go wrong.
If this garlic bread pizza does happen to sound good to you, though, here's our favorite ciabatta recipe to get you started. Enjoy!