Scooping out the soft center of the loaf makes this bruschetta easier to bite into.
1 (12-oz.) French bread loaf, cut in half lengthwise
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 small fresh tomatoes, seeded and diced
2/3 cup fresh basil leaves, cut into thin strips
2 tablespoons balsamic vinaigrette
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup (3 oz.) shredded Parmesan cheese
6 cooked bacon slices, crumbled
How to Make It
Cut French bread halves into 4 equal pieces. Scoop out and reserve soft centers of bread, leaving shells intact with 1/2-inch-thick sides and 1 1/2-inch-thick bottoms.
Cut reserved soft centers of bread halves into small cubes. Place on a baking sheet.
Bake at 350° for 14 to 15 minutes or until toasted and lightly browned. Remove from oven; place toasted bread cubes in a large bowl. Place bread shells, cut sides up, on baking sheet. Brush cut sides evenly with olive oil. Increase oven temperature to broil.
Broil bread shells 5 inches from heat 2 to 3 minutes or until lightly brown. Remove from oven.
Place tomatoes in a small mixing bowl, and gently crush with a fork. Add toasted bread cubes, basil, and next 3 ingredients, tossing to coat.
Using a slotted spoon, fill each toasted bread shell evenly with tomato mixture. Sprinkle evenly with 2/3 cup Parmesan cheese.
Broil 1 to 2 minutes or until cheese is melted. Top each portion evenly with crumbled bacon.