Planning a dinner party this weekend? Have your guests indulge in this ooey, gooey, cheesy, garlic bread, slathered with a good helping of homemade basil pesto alla genovese. You'll hear your guests oohing and ahhing ... and all it took was 15 minutes to make from beginning to end!

When I work long days, dinner at our house consists of bread, cold cuts and cheese - your typical German Abendbrot. The other night when I came home after a long day's work, I didn't feel like pulling out my pots and pans, and spending the next hour or two making dinner. I still wanted something warm, though. And comforting. Let me add effortless and a complete no-brainer to the list. I remembered that I still had some homemade pesto alla genovese in the fridge, and this ooey, gooey, lots-of-mozz, not-so-messy, garlic pesto bread was born.

Four simple, wholesome ingredients make up this divine appetizer - homemade pesto, real butter, lots of mozzarella, and of course, a loaf of Ciabatta bread. 

Cut the bread into two halves and spread each slice with butter or margarine. In the first photo of the collage (top left), you might notice that I used margarine on the left and butter on the right. The side with margarine had a saltier taste, and the one right had more of a rich, buttery taste. Either way, both tasted really good!!

In the second photo (top right), I added two heaping tablespoons of my homemade pesto. I had made this a couple of nights before and used three heaping tablespoons, instead. Both versions tasted good, but I personally preferred it with more pesto.

Spread the pesto from edge to edge and top each slice with an abundance of cheese (bottom two photos). 

Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes, and if you prefer golden brown edges, then bake for 2-3 minutes longer. Try not to bake it any longer, or it will turn out dry, and the cheese won't be as stretchy.

Finally, slice into 8 pieces and serve immediately. If desired, add freshly ground black pepper for an extra kick. 

In Ina's famous words ... How easy was that?

Buon appetito!!

(From the Kitchen of For the Love of Italian Cooking)

  • 1 loaf Ciabatta bread (small or medium in size)
  • 4-6 heaping tablespoons homemade basil pesto
  • 2 cups (200 g) shredded mozzarella
  • butter or margarine, as needed
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 400 deg F / 200 deg C and line bottom of oven with parchment paper, aluminum foil, or a baking sheet to catch any drippings.
  2. Cut Ciabatta lengthwise in half, spread butter or margarine on each slice, and then with a generous amount of basil pesto. Sprinkle shredded mozzarella on top.  
  3. Place on the middle rack in the oven and bake for 10 minutes, until cheese is melted. If you prefer golden brown edges, then bake for 2-3 minutes longer.
  4. Cut into 8 slices and serve immediately (still warm).
Serves 8


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Rosa G.
Hamburg, Germany
Hi! My name is Rosa and welcome to my blog! I'm a fun loving, most-of-the-time stressed mother of three small boys, and a former cubicle dweller turned pastry chef. I am an amateur blogger and food photographer and lover of good Italian food. My food is simple, fresh, and seasonal (with an occasional frozen pizza).