This recipe was invented by my genius cooking friend Tommy. I make it over and over, just so I can tell guests the name.
Serves eight or more.
1 loaf of Tuscan bread, or sourdough, or other round loaf
4 oz. softened butter
1/4 cup olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. Italian herb mixture (oregano, basil, thyme, whatever)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
Split the bread in half, then slice it. Mash all the remaining ingredients together, making a soft paste. Spread on slices of bread, then overlap slices in a big ol’ frying pan or baking sheet or gratin dish big enough to hold them.
Bake at 375 for about 15 minutes. You want the bread to be a little bit crunchy, a little bit chewy.
Sweet Potato Wedges
Homemade sweet potato fries go well with just about anything. Prepared this way, they don’t get crunchy, but get a bit of texture and do not need a lot of fat for cooking.
4 sweet potatoes, scrubbed, then cut into long, thin wedges
4 Tbsp. olive oil
Salt and pepper
Toss sweet potatoes with oil, salt, and pepper. Spread out on baking sheet or that good ol’ cast iron skillet you’re using for everything.
Bake at 400, checking and tossing every 15 minutes, for 30 to 45 minutes.
Green Beans With Pancetta and Parmesan
1 lb. green beans, tips removed
1/4 lb. pancetta bacon, diced and sauteed until crispy
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/3 cup grated Parmesan or Pecorino cheese
Steam beans until al dente, about 7 to 10 minutes. Drain and toss with olive oil. Layer in serving dish, then top with pancetta bacon and cheese. Serve at room temperature or reheat before serving.