Thursday, June 27, 2013

"That's Italian" - Thursday Night's Italian Feast (Cheesy Baguette Bread Recipe)

This evening I was in the mood for an Italian style dinner.  I decided to make "pasta", Easy Cheesy Herbed Baguette Bread (improved recipe) and a small side salad.  I started my dinner prep by making the baguette bread first.  While it was baking, I made a quick and simple "pasta" using yellow summer squash that I cut with my julienne peeler.  I have found that yellow summer squash pasta does not release the amount of liquid when cooked like zucchini pasta does.  I didn't want to make a regular red pasta sauce, so instead, I used a heaping tablespoon of Mezzetta's sun-dried tomato pesto and mixed it with extra virgin olive oil to serve as a scant, but flavorful "sauce". To cook the pasta, I lightly sauteed it in a bit of olive oil until al dente and then stirred in the sun-dried tomato pesto and olive oil and tossed it to coat well.  In a separate skillet I sauteed diced Vidalia onion, red bell pepper and a large minced clove of garlic until almost tender and then added 1 pound of ground sirloin, breaking it up as it browned.  I seasoned it well with Celtic sea salt, lots of freshly ground black pepper and a generous pinch of red pepper flakes.  Once it was nice and browned, I removed it from the heat and stirred in a couple tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil.  I tossed the "pesto coated pasta" with the browned meat mixture and added in some sliced fresh mini San Marzano tomatoes to keep them fresh and just slightly heated.  I sliced the baguette bread and added a side salad and we had a delicious "Italian Style Feast". I snapped a few photos below and included the recipe for my improved Easy Cheesy Herbed Baguette Bread.  Enjoy!

Yellow squash pasta before cooking

Baguette bread dough spread and "ready to roll"

Before going into the oven to bake


Easy Cheesy Herbed Baguette Bread (Improved)


Dry Ingredients
1/2 cup golden flax seed meal (organic golden flax has a milder taste than brown)
2/3 teaspoon baking powder (aluminum free)
3/4 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, more or less to taste (*use less salt if using a saltier cheese filling)
Few grinds of freshly ground black pepper
6 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, finely grated

Wet Ingredients
1 egg (or 1/4 cup egg substitute such as Egg Beaters)
1 tablespoon olive oil (a little more, if desired)
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

Cheesy Herb Filling
1/2 - 3/4 cup "favorite" shredded cheese (Italian blend, mozzarella, cheddar, Parmesan, etc.)
1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Pinch red pepper flakes, optional


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Mix dry ingredients together; make a well in the center of the bowl and add wet ingredients; mix well until a dough forms.  Let the dough sit for about 5 minutes to thicken (if the dough is still too wet or sticky after sitting to handle, add a little additional flax meal or grated Parmesan to stiffen it up a bit). Spread dough on a lightly oiled pan or a cookie sheet with greased parchment paper or foil (I use Reynolds non-stick foil, lightly brushed with olive oil or parchment paper lightly sprayed with olive oil).  

Press the dough out with a rubber spatula (to keep it from sticking) into a rectangular shape (approximately 12" x 8").  Sprinkle shredded cheese of your choice evenly on top of the dough; sprinkle with seasoning, black pepper and red pepper flakes, if desired (do not put too much cheese or it will be difficult to roll and will weigh the bread down as it bakes). The easiest way to roll it up is to place it on parchment paper or foil (on the cookie sheet) and lift the long side and use it to roll it over and when you are almost done rolling at it is at the edge, slide a new piece of parchment paper underneath and continue rolling it off onto the new piece.  You could also use your hands or a rubber spatula and begin gently rolling the dough lengthwise, jelly roll fashion, until it is rolled into a tube shaped baguette.  Make sure the seam side is down and gently press the ends closed so cheese doesn't melt out while baking.  Lightly sprinkle top of baguette with additional shredded cheese, if desired.

Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until baguette looks and feels done.  Remove from oven and let cool about 5 minutes on a rack.  Slice, spread with butter...and enjoy!

Note:  This would also be good with some crumbled, cooked Italian sausage scattered on top of the cheese before rolling.  You can substitute the seasonings, cheeses, etc. for those that are your favorite.  The possibilities are endless!



Anonymous said...

Fabulous! Can't wait to try... =)

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Thanks, I hope you enjoy it! :-)

Anonymous said...

I make your bread recipe all the time :) Love it, especially as flatbread (I don't roll it up). I notice the cider vinegar is new in the recipe. Just wondering why you added it? That meal looks so good - need to find some squash to try your "pasta".

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Hi Sue! The only reason I reduced the water slightly, increased the Parmesan and added the teaspoon of cider vinegar was that some people told me the dough was difficult for them to roll up -- I tried to make the dough a little less moist and added the cider vinegar to help leaven it a little with the denser dough. I am not sure the cider vinegar makes a noticeable would have to try both versions side by side to tell. But I do think the dough is a little easier to work with and hope it might make it easier for some to work with. So glad you've been enjoying the bread recipe. :-)

SLB said...

I have tried so many of your recipes and love every one. I want to try this squash "pasta" but need to know what tool you use. Thanks for sharing all your delicious recipes and ideas! I share so many of them!

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Hi SLB -- Sorry I didn't get back to you sooner -- I used a julienne vegetable peeler made my Kuhn Rikon that I bought from Amazon -- they also sell it at Sur La Table too. If you have a Pinterest page...I have it under "products I love". Here is the link:

Let me know if you don't have a Pinterest page and I will send you another link to the gadget. Thanks for letting me know you enjoy my recipes! :-)

SLB said...

Hi again,
I found a julienne peeler at Williams & Sonoma today. Made this Italian dinner tonight and it was a hit!! Delicious! Thanks again!

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Thanks, SLB! So glad you enjoyed it. I didn't know you could find the julienne peeler at Williams Sonoma...but I should have guessed they would have one! So happy you enjoyed it! :-)