Some might say the words “Italian” and “Festive” go together like pepperoni and mushrooms, and I have to say I agree.
In Italy, every meal is a celebration; at least, that’s what I experienced in my trips to the motherland. Food is celebrated, quality ingredients are a cause for joy and food and family go hand-in-hand. I’m pretty sure the expression “food is love” originated on the shores of the Amalfi Coast or in the hills of Tuscany.
So, it’s not a stretch to use the term “festive” for this bread. I used to make something like it when I lived in Europe, although I baked the meats and cheeses right into the bread and served the peppers on the side. It was perfect road trip food, combining carbs, protein, fat and the peppers to cut the fat. Plus, you can eat it with your fingers.
You can use almost any combination of Italian meats and cheeses in this bread, and the note at the end explains how to exchange the mayonnaise for butter.
Italian Festive Bread
1 loaf baked Italian bread
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried parsley
4-5 basil leaves, chopped
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp thyme
1 Tbs pepperoncini brine from the jar
4 oz sliced salami (or large slices of pepperoni)
4 oz sliced provolone
4 oz sliced mozzarella
4 oz sliced Muenster cheese
1/4 cup pepperoncini peppers, diced
1/4 cup red onion, sliced
Preheat the oven to 350° F.
Slice the bread into 1-inch slabs, being careful not to slice all the way through to the bottom. Place on a large sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil.
Mix the mayonnaise, onion powder, garlic powder, parsley, basil, oregano, thyme and pepperoncini brine. Spread the mixture liberally over each slice of bread. Place a slice of salami between each slice of bread and add a piece of cheese, alternating varieties. Finish by adding pepperoncini pieces and red onion slices between each slice. Wrap tightly in foil and bake about 25-30 minutes or until the outside is crispy and all the cheese is melted.
Note: We don’t all like mayonnaise in my house, so I softened 1/2 cup of butter to room temperature, mixed the herbs into the butter and used in place of the mayonnaise.
Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 733, Calories from Fat: 354, Fat: 40 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (16 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 78 mg, Sodium: 1566 mg, Potassium: 135 mg, Carbohydrates: 63 g, Fiber: 3.6 g, Sugar: 7 g, Protein: 31 g.
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