"There is no better accompaniment to a dinner of pasta with red sauce than a large lacquered loaf of hot bread sliced almost but not entirely through, redolent of bruised garlic and sweet butter. Save, perhaps, two or more loaves. Children thrill to garlic bread in particular, and few adults can avoid its charms. You’ll need only Italian bread or a country loaf, butter, garlic, and, if you like, a lot of mixed herbs." —Sam Sifton
For a traditional loaf, simply take a stick of unsalted butter and place it on your cutting board to soften. Then peel and mince garlic, as many cloves as you deem necessary, up to a full head. When the butter has softened, use a fork to mash the garlic into it, creating a paste that may appear to be equal parts garlic and butter. Add a little coarse kosher salt and mix again. Then use a bread knife to score the bread deeply, thick slices that end right before the bottom crust of the loaf. Spread the garlic butter on each side of each slice, making sure to get it down deep toward the bottom crust. Use the remaining garlic butter to anoint the exterior of the loaf, then wrap the whole thing in aluminum foil. Bake it in a 350°F oven for around 20 minutes, a little more if your oven temperature is lower, then serve.
Or if you’d like a more luxe and fragrant version? Follow the teachings of my colleague Samin Nosrat, who cuts a wide variety of herbs—parsley, thyme, and chives, say—into the butter she uses on the bread, then stuffs yet more fresh herbs of the same variety into the finished bread before she serves it. It’s like a salad, then. And ridiculously delicious.