French Bread Pizza: Easiest Meal Ever?

/ Tuesday, August 7, 2012

I'm a New Yorker. I've lived in or just-outside-of New York City my entire life; so have my have my grandparents...great grandparents, too. I wouldn't necessarily say that I have a New York–food complex but I will admit I feel strongly that we do pizza (and bagels, and egg sandwiches, black n' white cookies and egg creams) best. 

Well, apparently there's a whole different breed of pizza I was unaware of: French bread pizza. Did you know this was a thing?! (Don't laugh at me.) According to my Mid-Western boyfriend, "everyone knows French bread pizza." He says it's the meal baby sitters make for little kids growing up. News to me. I needed to try it myself to see if the fuss was merited, so I asked boyfriend how to make it: Grocery-store French bread, jarred marinara sauce, pepperoni and shredded mozzarella. Welp, here's what I came up with:  


1 loaf French bread 
1 stick unsalted butter
3 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 sprigs fresh oregano (or a generous pinch of dried)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
3 sweet Italian sausages, casings removed
3 cups marinara sauce
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup shredded provolone cheese
Pepperoni slices, optional

1. Preheat the oven to 400˚. Line a baking sheet with foil. Cut the French bread in half crosswise, then halve it lengthwise so you have 4 pieces. Pull out some bread from the middle, leaving a 1-inch shell. Arrange on the prepared baking sheet, cut-side up.
2. Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Stir in the garlic, salt, lemon juice and oregano. Remove from the heat; let sit 15 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sausages and cook, breaking them up with a wooden spoon, until browned, about 8 minutes. Transfer the sausage to a bowl using a slotted spoon. Stir in 1 cup marinara sauce. 
3. Brush the French bread pieces with the garlic butter. Top each piece with ½ cup marinara sauce, then one-quarter of the sausage mixture. Sprinkle with the mozzarella and provolone cheese. Top with pepperoni, if desired. Bake until the cheese melts and the sauce is bubbling, about 10 minutes. Let cool 2 to 3 minutes before serving. 

Admittedly my recipe has a few more steps/ingredients than the version he remembers but it's tasty! so who cares. It freezes well, too. Wrap up individual pieces, then pop them in the oven when you're ready for dinner. French bread pizza fans, what do you think? Did I do it?


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