Garlic Bread


2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
Several drops Tabasco sauce
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, optional
1 (15- by 3 1/2-inch) loaf Italian bread

Preheat oven to 350F.

Stir together butter, salt, Tabasco, and garlic in a bowl until smooth, then stir in parsley.

Without cutting completely through bottom, cut bread diagonally into 1-inch-thick slices with a serrated knife, then spread garlic butter on both sides of each slice slices. Any excess butter can be spread over the top of the loaf.

Wrap loaf in foil and bake in middle of oven 15 minutes. Open foil and bake 5 minutes more.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Notes:

Bread can be spread with garlic butter 8 hours ahead and chilled, wrapped in foil. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes before baking.

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