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Garlic Bread, Tuscan-Style

10 March, 2020

There are easy recipes. And, there are easy recipes —  food that folks who struggle with microwavable meal can master. Garlic bread is one such classic. It’s the sort of comfort food that every aspiring (or experienced)  cook should have in their recipe rotation.

But, the Italian ancestor of this fan favorite is a lot less greasy than you might think. For most Americans, just mentioning garlic bread conjures up images of oven-toasted loaves doused in butter, parsley and mountains of minced garlic.

Oddly enough, mozzarella-draped garlic bread just doesn’t exist in the Old Country.  In fact, the closest you’ll find to garlic bread in Italy is a simple Tuscan appetizer called fettunta — oil-slicked toast rubbed with raw garlic. While not straying far from the grease + bread + garlic equation, fettunta might better be thought of as. . .  garlicky bread.  

If American garlic bread showcases the zing of garlic and the stringiness of mozzarella, the star of fettunta is the bread itself.  To be sure, garlic is still here.  It’s just not the main attraction — one note in a choir rather than that voice that makes you forget all others. Since garlic won’t overpower the bread, it’s key that you get your hands on a quality loaf — like the crusty bread sold in Little Italy’s own Solunto Ristorante and Bakery.

To make this grand-daddy of garlic bread, just rub raw cloves right on your toasted or grilled bread.  The warm surface absorbs just a hint of the garlic’s punch.  You taste the bread. You taste the fruity olive oil. You taste the garlic.  No one flavor kills off the others.  Served hot, this is easy and light finger food.

  • 1 loaf crusty Italian bread, sliced
  • Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling (1/2 cup)
  • 6 or so peeled garlic cloves
  • Salt & pepper


Flash toast (on high heat) or grill your sliced bread. Grilling will endow the final dish with a rich, smoky aftertaste.  Once crisp and charred, take a clove of garlic and rub it into the bread’s rough surface.  The garlic will rub off.  Garlic up each hot slice this way.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper. As a finishing step, pour a big glug of extra-virgin olive oil over each garlicky piece.  The warm bread will absorb the oil. Serve hot.

What do you think of this garlic bread recipe from Italy, guys?

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Our guide was simply amazing!!! He was well animated, very accommodating, and extremely personable. He was quite a character, in a fun and exciting way. I have nothing but positive things to say about my tour experience. I highly recommend choosing Little Italy Tours to be your tour guide! — VM, Bonita, CA
This is a MUST See and Do attraction in SD. Even members of our group who were born here, were blown away by the City and Neighborhood's History and stories. It was like we were transported back in time. The company and our guide did an Amazing Job!!! Our Group of 20+ can't stop raving about it! —Lisa B. Chula Vista, CA
What a ball! My colleagues and I took the Little Italy tour for our office party and a bit of team-building. We had so much fun. Our guide was amazing. We learned so much about pizza and Italian cuisine and Little Italy's influence in San Diego. We ate, we learned, we drank, and we had a ball! I would highly recommend taking a tour with Little Italy. Grazie mille!!! — Robin D. San Diego, CA
What an amazing and engaging tour guide we had! The best of the best! I feel in love with Italy all over again. The pizza, pasta and gelato was as tasty as could be. Their cooking class is next on my list. Ciao! —Marlo V. Las Vegas, NV
My work department did this tour as part of our holiday celebrations and had a great time! Our tour guide was very informative and energetic. We learned all about where pizza came from and each stop taught us something new and allowed us to try pizza from a different region. You will leave full and educated! —Sheila S. Boston, MA
Best hour and a half out of a 9 day trip. Thanks to our guide for an entertaining and informative tour of Little Italy! —Duane L. Duluth, MN
We had a WONDERFUL tour this morning with our guide!! We all, ages from 14 to 53, had such a special and fun time learning about the history of Little Italy... We will DEFINITELY schedule something else with this group. It was truly the highlight of our vacation! —Suzy H. Irvine, CA
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