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I made Ina Garten’s ‘outrageous’ garlic bread and it’s my new favorite side dish

Summary List PlacementFOLLOW US: Insider is on Facebook Ina Garten's "outrageous" garlic bread recipe is from her new cookbook, "Modern Comfort Food." The cookbook is filled with recipes that give modern twists to traditional dishes, including garlic bread.  "Garlic bread from the 1960s was usually soft, doughy Italian bread dripping with garlic butter," Garten...

Ina Garten's Outrageous Garlic Bread

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Ina Garten’s “outrageous” garlic bread recipe is from her new cookbook, “Modern Comfort Food.”

The cookbook is filled with recipes that give modern twists to traditional dishes, including garlic bread. 

“Garlic bread from the 1960s was usually soft, doughy Italian bread dripping with garlic butter,” Garten writes in her cookbook. “I’ve taken a fresh look at it and made the ultimate garlic bread by slathering a crusty baguette with lots of slow-cooked garlic, parmesan, parsley, and lemon zest, and baking it until it’s beautifully browned on top. It’s so good!”

Garten’s garlic bread requires seven ingredients, but you likely already have most of them in your kitchen.

To make Garten’s “outrageous” garlic bread, you’ll need: 

  • A crusty French baguette
  • Garlic
  • Freshly-grated parmesan cheese 
  • Fresh parsley 
  • Lemon zest 
  • Red pepper flakes 
  • Unsalted butter

We begin with the butter — a lot of butter.

The first step is melting the butter in a small saucepan over low heat. 

For Garten’s recipe, which serves eight, you’ll need 12 tablespoons of unsalted butter — which amounts to one-and-a-half sticks.

Then it’s time to add the garlic.

Before adding garlic to the pan, you’ll need to separate and peel the cloves from one head. 

It sounds like a lot of prep. But, as always, Garten has some handy tips. 

“Peel the garlic by smashing each clove lightly on a board with a chef’s knife,” she writes in her cookbook. “Or place the cloves in a small pot of boiling water for 15 to 30 seconds and the peels will come right off.” 

I went with the first technique and then added my cloves to the saucepan, making sure to coat them with the melted butter. Then I covered the pan for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally per Garten’s instructions. 

After 20 minutes were up, I checked on my garlic.

The cloves were tender and ready to go. I transferred them to a small bowl, which Garten recommends setting aside until it’s cool enough to handle. 

While waiting for the garlic to cool, we decided to prep the bread.

Garten’s recipe calls for the baguette to be sliced in half lengthwise. She then recommends placing both halves, cut sides up, on a cutting board. 

Then it gets a little tricky. The recipe calls for you to score the halves diagonally (meaning you don’t cut them all the way through) in large serving-size pieces. 

Thankfully, my friend Zach — who was acting as my sous chef for the night — had a great tip. He placed chopsticks on each side of the baguette halves while scoring so that the knife wouldn’t completely slice through the bread.

Then it was time to make some garlic bread magic happen.

It was here that Zach and I read the recipe a bit wrong. Instead of fully mashing the garlic into the butter, we put the tender cloves straight on the bread. Thankfully, our error ended up being a huge hit (more on that in a bit). 

After spooning the cloves onto the bread, it was time to create the delicious mixture that would cover our baguette. We added two teaspoons of grated lemon zest, ¼ teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes, and some salt and freshly-ground black pepper all into the saucepan with the butter. 

We stirred everything together, then generously brushed the mixture (which already smelled incredible) all over the bread.

Last but not least was the parsley and cheese.

We topped the baguette halves with one cup of freshly-grated parmesan cheese, some minced fresh parsley, and more red pepper flakes — which gave the bread a great burst of color (and a nice kick).

Then, per Garten’s instructions, we cut the bread halves along a score so that we could fit four pieces on a sheet pan and throw them into the oven, which was set at 450 degree Fahrenheit.

Pro tip: Garten says you can also prepare your garlic mixture up to three days ahead and refrigerate it. Just combine everything in a bowl, including the parmesan cheese and parsley, and warm it slightly in a microwave to make the mixture spreadable when you’re ready to bake your bread.

After just six minutes, our “outrageous” garlic bread was ready to go.

Garten recommends baking your bread for five to seven minutes, until the “topping is bubbly and starting to brown and the bread is crisp.” 

We then transferred the bread to a board and cut along the scores to make serving pieces, and topped everything off with some sea salt. 

The garlic bread was a huge hit at the dinner table. Each piece was perfectly crunchy, and the lemon zest and parsley added a nice brightness to all that garlic. Both Zach and I agreed that it was definitely worth the extra cooking time and effort. 

“I could have eaten an entire baguette’s worth of the garlic bread,” my friend Tyler added. “I liked the whole garlic cloves and the lemon zest was delicious.” 

My friend Sara also loved the full slices of garlic as opposed to seeing it chopped or minced, and said it was her favorite part of the dish. 

Garten’s “outrageous” garlic bread was the perfect side dish for her baked rigatoni with lamb ragu.

We served the bread alongside her new hearty baked pasta, and it was the best way to sop up every last drop of the delicious sauce on our plates. 

But what’s so great about Garten’s recipe is that it works for every season. Whether you pair it with her comforting weeknight bolognese or her light summer garden pasta, this “outrageous” garlic bread is an easy and delicious side dish that will please everyone.

Garten’s “outrageous” garlic bread lives up to its name in the best way, and I’ll be making it for dinner parties for years to come.

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