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Cooking with Rod

By Rod Cohenour

As the kids are getting ready to go back to school or if you're just an empty nester and want to have a little bit of fun with food, Pizza is always a fun and creative food to play with.

One of my favorites over the years has been French bread pizzas. There are so many ways to do this but my favorite I'm presenting here. Remember though, like any pizza there are as many variations of toppings as your imagination can conjure up.

Bon appetit ~!

French Bread Pizza


Serves 6


Ingredients:

  • 3 loaves French Bread, with or without sesame seeds, etc. (One French Bread loaf serves 2 or 3, depending upon the appetites of your guests, this recipe assumes one loaf serves 2)
  • Butter, either tub or stick (margarine will do, your choice)
  • Garlic, minced or whole clove or dried. If using a whole clove, just rub the clove over the French bread that has been buttered before toasting. Otherwise, the minced garlic can be mixed with the butter before spreading on the bread. Dried granulated garlic can be sprinkled very sparsely over the butter before toasting. (Granulated garlic is extremely strong.)
  • 1 lg (28 oz) jar Marinara sauce
  • Basil, dried or fresh
  • Oregano, dried or fresh
  • 24 slices Provolone cheese
  • 24 slices Mozzarella cheese
  • 1 lg Bell Pepper, diced small
  • 1 med onion, diced small
  • 2 lbs ground Sweet Italian sausage
  • 1 lb sliced pepperoni
  • 1 can pitted sliced black olives, well-drained


Instructions:

    1. Prepare Italian sausage. Spray a large skillet with butter-flavored pan spray. Add sausage and begin scumbling using a wooden spoon. When no longer pink, add diced bell pepper and onion and stir well, continue cooking until sausage is nicely browned with a slight caramelization for flavor. Drain the sausage well. To drained sausage add 1/2 cup of the Marinara and blend thoroughly. Set aside but keep warm.
    2. Split bread loaves in half lengthwise, then slice the reassembled loaves in half across the middle creating four pieces per loaf. (Each section will become its own pizza slice, serving two slices per person.)
    3. Spread bread slices with butter, then add garlic and toast until nicely browned. Remember, this will be the basis for your pizza and needs to be toasted sufficiently to not get soggy. Do not burn!
    Assemble the pizzas:
    4. Put two slices Provolone cheese overlapping on each toasted bread section.
    5. Spread Marinara over Provolone, sprinkle basil or arrange fresh leaves over sauce, and add oregano.
    6. Divide sausage mixture into 12 equal parts. Use one part for each bread segment, spreading evenly.
    7. Arrange pepperoni slices evenly over the 12 bread segments.
    8. Add 2 slices Mozzarella overlapping on each bread segment.
    9. Add black olives on Mozzarella.
    10. Place all 12 French Bread sections on large baking sheet. Broil just until cheese has melted.


Serve with a crisp salad, Italian dressing, and extra garnishes such as fresh Basil leaves, more olives, sliced bell peppers, and grated parmesan cheese.


Be sure to have iced tea and lemonade for your guests


Enjoy!


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