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This last weekend, I was inspired by Bertolli to “Mangia” or eat, the Italian way. It’s all about making dinner an event with your family or loved ones to create memories. I decided to set my stage for creating family memories on my parent’s next visit by making dinner with Bertolli and one of my favorite sides: Red Wine Rustic Stuffed Italian Loaf, a big loaf of artisan Italian bread stuffed to the gills with garlic, fresh mozzarella and candied bacon. That’s just a lotta yum right there. And quite the way to celebrate just being together.
Basically, this whole Mangia idea (WHICH I LOVE) came to me from this awesome Bertolli video I caught on YouTube.
To say I was inspired is an understatement. So, I rushed to my local Kroger and, with the toddler in-tow (and building things out of the other groceries, heh), hunted-up my Bertolli flavor of choice for the evening: Italian Sausage.
But, I still had a few hours (more like a day) before the parents came over, so I had more than enough time to let my Red Wine Rustic Stuffed Italian Loaf marinate overnight, which is exactly the way to make it THE BOMB (and not be hours in the kitchen making bread the day of our big “dinner party”).
The Stuffed Italian Loaf is adapted from theKitchn.com’s No Time Bread recipe, which is a favorite around our house. I’ve made it into all sorts of crazy adaptations, but this one is, by far, my favorite. Something about the hint of sweet, the cheese, and all that garlicy-goodness coming together. Makes my mouth water just thinking about it.
Red Wine Rustic Stuffed Italian Loaf
So, for those of you who love running with scissors and driving places without directions, I made a little photo tutorial of the making-of my Red Wine Rustic Stuffed Italian Loaf. Run with those scissors, you. Run. Heh.
As soon as your bread goes in the oven for the second time to get all that cheese to melt for you, just go ahead and get your Bertolli ready and start pulling your salad together (oh, and making your last minute asparagus, if that’s how you roll like me). By the time you are pulling that loaf out, you’ll be putting everything else on the table and the timing, my friends: PERFECTION.
For those of you with a desire for a little more surety in their lives, here’s the written version of the recipe for the Stuffed Italian Loaf.
Red Wine Rustic Stuffed Italian Loaf, a big loaf of artisan Italian bread stuffed to the gills with garlic, fresh mozzarella and candied bacon. That's just a lotta yum right there.
- 4 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast, about two packets
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 3 1/2 cups bread flour, sifted
- 1 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 teaspoon red wine, or red wine vinegar
- 2 tblspn olive oil
- 1 tblspn sesame seeds
- 1/2 lbs bacon
- 1 tblspn brown sugar
- 1 tspn black pepper
- 1 package fresh mozzarella, 6-8oz
- 2 tblspn minced garlic
- Heat the oven to 450°F. Put an oven-safe bowl (whatever shape you want your bread to be) in to warm as the oven heats.
- In a large mixing bowl, place the yeast, sugar, and water and let it sit for 5 minutes.
- Add 3 cups of the flour as well as the salt and red wine and beat on a medium setting for 5 minutes.
- Add the last 1/2 cup of flour and switch to the dough hook and beat for seven minutes. It will still be wet, but not gooey. The dough will clean the sides of the bowl but stick to the bottom–so kind of a happy medium dough.
- Lightly grease a microwave-safe bowl with vegetable oil and transfer the bread dough to it, rolling it in the oil.
- Cover the bowl with a very wet towel.
- Cover the whole thing with a dry towel and put in the microwave.
- Microwave on HIGH for 25 seconds.
- Let rest in the microwave for about five minutes.
- Microwave on HIGH for another 25 seconds, then remove.
- Let rest and rise for another 15 minutes.
- Shape into a ball and plop into the preheated pan.
- Pour the remaining 1/2 of the oil on top.
- Sprinkle with the sesame seeds.
- Cover and bake for about 30 minutes, then remove the cover and bake for another 10 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown.
- Reduce the oven heat to 350 degrees.
- Candy the bacon by slicing the bacon into chunks.
- Lay-out the chunks on the baking sheet.
- Sprinkle the pepper and brown sugar over the bacon.
- Place in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes.
- While that's cooking, slice the bread into 1/4 to 1/2 -inch cubes, but don't cut all the way through. Be careful, it's going to be hot in there.
- Stuff the garlic down in the cuts in the bread liberally, but evenly.
- Break the mozzarella into small 1/4 to 1/2 -inch chunks and stuff them down into the cuts in the bread liberally, but evenly.
- When the bacon has browned to the point you prefer it, remove from the oven and allow to cool.
- Stuff the bacon in the bread on top of the cheese.
- Now, I prefer at this juncture to cover with foil and put the Stuffed Italian Loaf in the fridge overnight to allow it to marinate. But, if you don't have time, you can skip that step--it'll still be amazing, just not EXACTLY the same as mine.
- Preheat the oven to 350-degrees.
- Place the loaf in the oven, covered in aluminum foil, for approximately 15 minutes or until warm again.
- Remove from oven and serve to your family with a big smile!
So, right now, you can find Bertolli items at some of the lowest prices of the year in a Kroger or Kroger banner store near you. Kroger banners include Fred Meyer, Smiths, Frys, Dillions, King Soopers, City Market, and QFC. To find a store near you, click here.
If you do decide to pull-off your own little Mangia, hit me up with a comment here or on Facebook. I’d love to know how your memory-making with Bertolli went!