Crusty warm Italian bread smothered in garlic butter, drizzled with olive oil or just plain by itself adds to any meal. Choose fresh high unsliced quality bread. Keep the loaf whole. Serve the warm bread to mop up pasta sauces, dip into soups or add crunch with a salad. For a change of pace, next time use an Italian bread flavored with herbs or topped with cheese.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Arrange the racks so there is one in the middle.
Cut two sheets of aluminum foil twice as long as the loaf of bread is. Place the foil on a flat surface in the shape of a cross. Place the loaf of bread in the center of the foil.
Wrap the whole loaf in the foil. Fold over the edges of the foil where they meet after they've gone around the bread and crimp the edges together. Place in the oven for 10 minutes. The bread will be warm.
Italian Seasoned Bread
Lay out the foil on a flat surface.
Mince the garlic or force it through a garlic press. Chop the basil. Place the leaves on top of each other. Roll up like a cigar. Cut down the middle of the cigar while you're holding it together. Cut down the cigar in the other direction in 1/8 slices. Mix the basil and garlic into the soft butter.
Cut the bread loaf in half horizontally. Spread with the garlic butter mixture. Wrap each half in a strip of foil completely covering the bread. Put on a cookie sheet in case any of the butter mixture leaks out, so it will be caught by the sheet instead of making a mess in the oven.
Bake in the oven for 15 minutes until the butter melts into the bread and the garlic loses its raw taste.
Use olive oil instead of butter.