Gooey Spinach, Bacon and Cheese Loaf

  • Active Time 20m
  • Total Time 1h

Serves 10

Here, to dispel memories of those long ago potluck bread-and-butter sandwiches, is a big, hot, gooey and utterly satisfying pull-apart bread creation that will have everyone asking for the recipe. It's especially nice if you know that the main course is going be something simple - soup, for example - since it's rich and filling. It can also be served as a sturdy appetizer before a light entrée - although worrying about "balancing the menu" denies the essentially anything-goes nature of a potluck.

ingredients

  • 6 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce, or to taste
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled, crushed through press, divided
  • 1 container (16 ounces) frounceen chopped spinach, thawed, squeezed dry
  • 1/3 cup plus 1/4 cup grated domestic (mild, moist) Romano cheese
  • 6 strips thick-cut bacon, cooked until almost-crisp, chopped
  • 1 thick, baguette-style loaf (18 inches long) of soft (not crusty) bread, halved horizontally
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

directions

Mix cream cheese, mayonnaise, pepper sauce and half of garlic in large bowl until well blended. Stir in spinach, 1/3 cup Romano cheese and bacon. Spread spinach mixture evenly over cut side of bottom of bread loaf. Set loaf top in place. With long serrated knife, carefully cut loaf crosswise into 8 or 10 pieces. On large sheet of heavy-duty foil, reassemble loaf. Draw foil up around loaf and crimp it tightly at top. The loaf can be prepared to this point up to 4 hours ahead. Refrigerate if desired.

TO TRANSPORT:

Set the loaf on a cookie sheet or jelly roll pan for transport. In a small storage container with a tight-fitting lid, mix together the butter and the remaining garlic and Romano cheese.

TO HEAT AND SERVE:

Let loaf come to room temperature if chilled. Soften butter-and-Romano mixture if hard. Position rack in middle of oven and preheat to 375 degrees F. Set loaf on its sheet pan on rack. Bake 20 minutes. Open foil packet and fold it down to expose the surface of the loaf. Spread the butter-cheese mixture evenly over the loaf top, using it all. Return loaf to oven and bake until top is nicely browned and spinach filling is very hot, another 20 to 25 minutes.

Carefully remove loaf from foil and transfer to cutting board or serving platter. Serve immediately.

Recipe created exclusively for Cooking.com by Michael McLaughlin.

Recipe reprinted by permission of Publisher. All rights reserved.

RecID 5829

nutrition information per serving

209 calories; 20g total fat; 42mg cholesterol; 269mg sodium; 3g carbohydrates; 1g fiber; 6g protein

These nutrition facts are calculated according to the ingredients listed in this recipe. Any substitutions will change these facts. Although we strive for accuracy, please note that food manufacturers occasionally change their food formulas, which could affect the calculations as shown.

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