Pesto Swirl Rolls
Makes 24 rolls | Pesto Swirl Rolls are a surefire recipe for bringing to a summer potluck, and a good change from serving pesto over pasta. Roll out a basic recipe for bread, spread with pesto and roll up. Place in muffin pan and bake.
Serve hot or room temperature, these savory rolls need no additional butter. To save time, prepare the pesto while the bread is rising or use pre-made pizza dough if you don’t have time to make your own bread.
One 1/4-ounce package (2 1/2 teaspoons) active dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1 1/2 cup warm (105°F–115°F) water
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled to lukewarm
1 teaspoon sea salt
5 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, as needed
Oil for baking pan
1 cup Basil Pesto (see below)
Sprinkle the yeast and sugar over the water in a large bowl. Let stand until the mixture looks foamy, about 10 minutes. Stir in the butter and salt. Gradually stir in enough of the flour to make a stiff dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead, adding more flour as required, until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Gather the dough into a ball.
Lightly oil a large bowl. Place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat the dough with the oil. Cover the bowl with a damp kitchen towel, and let stand in a warm place until the dough has doubled in volume, about 1 hour. Punch down the dough, turn out onto a lightly floured work surface, and knead briefly.
Divide the dough in half. Working with one section at a time, roll the dough into a rectangle 12 inches long and 8 inches wide. Spread the dough with the pesto, leaving a 1/2-inch border on all sides. Starting at the long end, roll up into a tight cylinder, pinch the seams closed, and pinch the long end closed.
Using a sharp knife, cut the loaves into 1-inch-thick rounds. Lightly oil two 12-cup muffin tins, and place 1 round of dough in each of the 24 cups. Cover the tins with a damp kitchen towel and let them stand in a warm place until the rolls look puffy, about 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Place a rack on the center of the oven, and bake the rolls until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow the rolls to cool for a few minutes before popping them out of the pan.
Makes 1 1/2 cups | Pesto has many uses that go beyond pasta. Spoon it over steamed vegetables, turn it into a marinade for chicken or fish, or use this basic recipe for your own variations, adding a bit of scented basil, oregano, rosemary, or other herbs as you wish.
2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
2 cups packed fresh basil leaves, rinsed and towel-dried
1 cup packed fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup walnuts or Pine nuts, lightly toasted
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
In the bowl of a food processor, combine the garlic, basil, parsley, and nuts. Purée until blended. Add the cheese and pulse to combine. With the motor running, slowly add the oil to make a creamy paste. Season with salt and pepper.