Italian Garlic Bread with Red Wine Base

I’ve been a food lover for as long as I can remember (and, according to my family, it spans back even further than that!), but my love for cooking technically didn’t come until later. In other words, I once really enjoyed the eating part much much more than the cooking side of the house. However I smelled the fresh smell of Italian garlic bread in the oven at a friend’s house one time, and I knew I had to try it.

Thanks to my early experiences with two recipes, however, that dynamic shifted pretty quickly. When I learned how to make a caesar salad dressing from scratch (one that will certainly get its own post later) and this Italian garlic bread recipe, I became obsessed with cooking. The sheer magic of turning raw ingredients – regardless of how few there really were – into these final, exquisite finished products was nothing short of magical to me.

click to download recipe

I learned this Italian garlic bread recipe when I was around 8 years old from my grandparents’ neighbor, Mrs. Rottura. Mrs. Rottura and her family came from – as you can probably guess – Italy, and more specifically from Calabria (kind of where the toe is in the boot shape). The Rotturas were farmers and were famous in the local community for always having incredibly fresh vegetables, fragrant flowers (supplied to the local perfumeries), and more.

This Italian garlic bread recipe of theirs, to this day, remains one of the most unique approaches to garlic bread that I’ve personally seen. In my pursuit of a good garlic bread from many a place, I haven’t yet seen anyone else make a homemade garlic bread based in red wine.

Bread dressing in the bowl with olive oil

I always knew that this recipe uses olive oil as a base in order to make for an easier dressing on the bread, but in the preparation of this article (i.e. talking to my dad about my childhood), I actually learned something new about it as well. Mrs. Rottura would often also take the same recipe but substitute the oil-base for sweet cream butter, which would yield a delectable red-wine garlic butter that can be used for many other purposes besides garlic bread. So there you go! This a two-for-one – both a garlic bread recipe and a versatile herbed butter one as well!

The garlic bread itself is incredibly simple to make. From beginning to end, it need not take more than 20 minutes. In fact, the only really time consuming part is the peeling of all the cloves from a full head of garlic!

Placing red wine base on the bread and placing for baking

Once you’ve gotten passed that initial hurdle, however, then you’re on your way to a great garlic bread that is actually incredibly versatile in what it can be paired with. My favorite pairing, in fact, is this recipe with my morning coffee! How I originally came across this magical combo was by having only garlic bread leftovers and no breakfast food in sight, but I quickly fell in love. By now, I actually go out of my way to make this Italian garlic bread on the weekends just to pair with my morning coffee.

And I’d highly recommend the same for anyone daring enough to try.

click to download recipe

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