• 2 large garlic bulbs
  • 3/4 cup olive oil, divided
  • ¼ cup fresh basil, optional, or parsley
  • ½ teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • Add dash red pepper flakes, optional
  • 1 loaf Italian bread


  1. Before you begin, set your oven to 400°F.
  2. Set one garlic clove aside from one of the bulbs.
  3. Cut the tops off your garlic bulbs, then arrange each bulb on a sheet of foil. Drizzle each with a tablespoon of olive oil, then loosely enclose in the foil.
  4. Place the garlic in a small pan over medium heat and cook, stirring frequently, until softened and browned, about 30 to 40 minutes.
  5. Remove the garlic from the oven, open the foil, and let it cool for a few minutes. Keep the oven on.
  6. Squeeze the garlic bulbs when they’re cool enough to handle to get the roasted garlic out. It’ll be wonderfully soft.
  7. Add the roasted garlic, raw garlic clove, olive oil, and salt to a food processor (preferably a mini one – see note). Blend until smooth.
  8. Add the basil and pulse the food processor until it resembles fine crumbs.
  9. Season with red pepper flakes and more salt if desired.
  10. Slice the bread loaf in half, lengthwise, then cover each half with the roasted garlic paste.
  11. Place the loaves, cut side up, on a rack in the oven. Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown, rotating halfway through. End with 1-2 minutes under the broiler if desired.
  12. Slice and serve.