Garlic Pizza Grilled Cheese

[Really Good Pizza That’s Really a Great Grilled Cheese] More than a grilled cheese sandwich, more than a pizza; this garlic pizza grilled cheese has a healthy dose of garlic, a mixture of Italian cheeses and fresh greens — all served on buttery Texas toast.

Texas toast makes such a wonderful grilled cheese and this pizza-flavored one is no exception. Have fun and experiment with your own flavors, too. There really are no rules.

Garlic Pizza Grilled Cheese Recipe

I went with an Italian slant on this one, but you really can do anything. Next time, I plan to try replacing the gouda with Monterey Jack and leaving the basil and crushed red pepper out of the mixture, then topping it with green olives and jalapeños.

Serves 4

Prep time: 15 minutes | Cook time: 57 minutes | Rest time: 3 minutes | Total time: 1 hour 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 red pepper, seeded, stemmed and cut into quarters
  • 1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded gouda cheese
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese,
  • 2-1/4 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 leaves fresh basil, finely chopped
  • 3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon stone-ground mustard
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped baby spinach,
  • 8 slices Texas-toast-style bread

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Wrap the garlic cloves in a small sheet of aluminum foil with 1/4 teaspoon of olive oil. Place the garlic and red peppers on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil and cook for 45 minutes or until the peppers and garlic are soft and aromatic. Let the peppers cool enough to touch and peel off the outer skin and slice them into strips. Finely chop the garlic cloves.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, mix 2/3 of the chopped roasted garlic cloves, ricotta, mozzarella, gouda, 1/4 cup of Parmesan, olive oil, black pepper, salt, basil and crushed red pepper until they’re completely combined.
  4. In a small mixing bowl, combine 1/3 of the chopped roasted garlic cloves, butter and mustard. Lay out 8 slices of bread and generously coat each slice with the butter mixture. Sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese evenly over the bread slices and press down the cheese lightly with a spatula or butter knife.
  5. Flip 4 of the slices over to expose the non-buttered side and spread it with an equal amount of the cheese mixture, then add red peppers and baby spinach. Top with remaining bread slices, ensuring the butter side is on the outside.
  6. In a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, cook sandwiches (2 at a time) on each side for 3 minutes or until the bread becomes crispy and golden brown and the cheese mixture is hot and melted all the way through. Let the sandwiches rest for 3 minutes to firm up.

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