Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil for easy clean up. Cut loaf of bread lengthwise and place both halves on prepared baking sheet.
Spread 1/4 cup pesto on each half of bread and top with one cup of shredded mozzarella. Bake until edges turn golden brown, about 20 minutes.
French bread: Remember those French bread pizzas from childhood? You want something like that, wider and less dense than a French baguette. A soft, unsliced Italian loaf works too.
Pesto: To make your own pesto, add 1 cup packed fresh basil leaves, 1/2 cup packed fresh parsley, 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, 2 tablespoons pine nuts or walnuts, and 1 clove garlic to a food processor or blender. Pulse until coarsely chopped, about 10 pulses. With the motor running, slowly drizzle in 1/4 cup olive oil and process until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Or, substitute store-bought.
Mozzarella: Shred this fresh for maximum meltability (rather than purchasing pre-shredded cheese).
Yield: This Pesto Cheese Bread recipe makes 12 slices, enough for 6 people (2 slices each). Feel free to double depending on your crowd size and what else is on the menu.
Storage: Store leftover baked Pesto Cheese in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
Make ahead: To get a jumpstart on this cheese bread, blend up the homemade pesto up to 4 days in advance. Store covered in the refrigerator (add a layer of olive oil on top to prevent oxidation) until ready to use.
Freezer: While I don't recommend freezing the entire cheese bread, my DIY Basil Walnut Pesto is definitely freezer-friendly! Pour into a jar and top with olive oil to keep air out. Be sure to leave enough space at the top of the jar for expansion. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator the day before you need it.
Cheese, please: Parmesan, provolone, or fontina would also work wonderfully instead of some or all of the mozzarella.