Cheesy Italian Pull Apart Bread

Cheesy Italian Pull Apart Bread - The Nourishing Gourmet

Cheesy Italian Pull Apart Bread is a delicious pizza alternative, and makes a perfect main dish for a simple weeknight dinner or appetizer for your next party (football, anyone?).

The first time I saw a pull apart bread recipe, I couldn’t get it out of my head. Tell me I’m not the only one it happens to? Week after week, I’d sketch out my weekly meal plan and think, “I really need to make that bread.” When I finally did, we were hooked.

This stuff is crazy good, you guys – how could it not be? A “blooming” sourdough boule stuffed with Italian sausage from our local farmer, garlic, onions, bell pepper, and mushrooms, with a blend of mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses to top it all off!

Oh, and did I mention you first brush the entire loaf with garlic butter? Yesss.

One big comforting bread bowl of cheesy Italian goodness.

To serve, I just placed it on a cutting board with a bowl of marinara sauce for dipping, then added a large salad with our favorite Greek dressing, and dinner was done!

Cheesy pull apart bread made with sourdough, Italian sausage, veggies, and two cheeses -- The Nourishing Gourmet

Pull apart recipes can be made with nearly any type of bread, but I found that the crispy outside and airy inside of the sourdough was pure perfection – the porous interior soaked up the garlic butter beautifully, while the firm crust held up to the hearty Italian sausage, mushrooms, and mozzarella stuffing.

Speaking of the stuffing, I think next time, I’ll cook up a double batch of the sausage-veggie mixture and freeze it for another night. This recipe is definitely easy, but omitting the stove-top step would shave 15-20 minutes off the time. And I’m always up for saving time in the kitchen!

And a tip for serving – Once it finished baking, I used a sharp knife to retrace the horizontal and vertical slits in the bread, then used tongs to loosen each piece of bread a little. This made it much easier to pull each piece out for dipping.

Cheesy Italian Pull Apart Bread with marinara sauce for dipping -- The Nourishing Gourmet

Have you made pull apart bread before? What flavors did you use?

I’m already planning which variation I’ll try next – Cheddar and chive? Bacon and Swiss? Ham and Gruyere?

Really, I don’t see how any of those could be less than awesome.

Cheesy Italian Pull Apart Bread

Use homemade sourdough, or buy it from a favorite local bakery! 

Ingredients:

  • 3 Tbsp pastured ghee
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped yellow onion
  • 1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp dried oregano
  • 4 links (about a pound) pastured Italian pork sausage, casings removed
  • 8 ounces white mushrooms, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 8 oz shredded mozzarella cheese + 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 large sourdough boule
  • 6 Tbsp pastured butter, melted
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • Marinara sauce for dipping
Cheesy Italian Pull Apart Bread
 
Serves: 8
 
Ingredients
  • 3 Tbsp pastured ghee
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • ½ cup finely chopped yellow onion
  • 1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp dried oregano
  • 4 links (about a pound) pastured Italian pork sausage, casings removed
  • 8 ounces white mushrooms, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 8 oz shredded mozzarella cheese + 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 large sourdough boule
  • 6 Tbsp pastured butter, melted
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • Marinara sauce for dipping
Instructions
  1. In a large skillet, heat ghee and add garlic, onion, and bell pepper. Cook, stirring often, until veggies soften.
  2. Add dried oregano and Italian sausage to the pan, using a wooden spoon to break into small crumbles as it browns.
  3. When sausage has browned, add mushrooms and continue cooking until softened. Salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Fold in about ⅓ of the cheese mixture remove from heat to cool.
  5. Place the sourdough boule on a cutting board. Use a serrated knife to cut horizontal slits about an inch apart, all the way across the boule. These should go almost all the way down to the bottom crust.
  6. Repeat going the other direction - make vertical slits about an inch apart, all the way across the boule. You'll need to use the stabliizing hand to firmly hold the already-cut sections together.
  7. Stir the garlic powder and melted butter together, then use a pastry brush to brush it down into each horizontal and vertical slit in the bread. This will take a few minutes but it's worth it!
  8. Once the bread has been cut and buttered, use clean hands (my preference) or a spoon to distribute the cooled meat-veggie-cheese blend evenly between all the slits. This will cause the sliced bread pieces to spread or "bloom" a bit more, but be sure not to allow the pieces to break apart.
  9. Sprinkle the remaining cheese blend over the top of the bread, pressing some gently into the slits if needed to use it all.
  10. Cook uncovered for 10-15 minutes or until cheese is melted. (I've been trying to cut back on my use of aluminum foil in the oven but, for less browning, wrap the loaf in foil before placing in the oven).
  11. To serve, I like to use a sharp knife to retrace the rows and columns of slits, then use tongs to transfer the cheesy bread pieces to plates.
  12. Serve with marinara for dipping.

Check out these other easy and comforting dinner recipes!

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