1 large loaf crusty Italian bread
6 slices ham, cut each slice into 8 wedges
8 oz fresh mozzarella, grated
3-4 tablespoons fresh or bottled pesto
1 1/2 teaspoons grated Parmesan
Preheat oven to 350. Cut the bread on the diagonal making 1/2 inch thick slices without slicing the bread all the way through. Repeat, going the opposite direction forming a cross hatch pattern.
Using a spreader or spoon, spread pesto between each cut. This scoop and spreader works perfectly for this!
Insert one wedge of ham in between each cut.
Add mozzarella between each cut. Drizzle with olive oil. Wrap tightly in foil. Place on a baking rack and bake 15 minutes. Remove from the oven, unwrap and sprinkle with Parmesan and return to the oven to brown, about five minutes. Allow to cool 5 minutes before plating and serving.
Note: Depending on the size of your loaf, you may end up with ham or mozzarella leftover.
I love appetizers that look impressive and are fun to eat but are also easy to make, transport and serve. This stuffed bread hits all those points. I used smoky ham slices which worked perfectly, they are a good thickness so you can really get them in-between the cuts and have a lot of flavor. For ease’s sake (and the fact that you use less than 1/4 cup), I used bottled pesto but feel free to use fresh if you’d like. Thanks to the mozzarella the mix holds together well when you tear off a chunk. It’s important to use a good, crusty loaf of bread–I get mine at the local Italian market–so you can cut it 95% of the way through and still have it hold its shape. The results are worth it! Great Italian flavors and smokiness from the hickory smoked ham.
I really enjoyed this! I am not always someone who makes an appetizer but this one was so easy and so flavorful, I can see making this again and again.