Cheesy Pesto Rolls


Your average dinner rolls just got a major facelift! This cheesy pesto roll recipe may take a little time, but the payoff is more than worth it! Full of delicious cheese and rich pesto, these rolls are sure to be the talk of your dinner table. The best part? They freeze easily, so you can make a batch over the weekend and pull a few rolls out whenever you need! These are perfect served with a big salad, or my Tomato Basil Soup.


I'd recommend reading through the directions before getting started on these. They actually are really easy, but it helps to familiarize yourself with the steps before jumping in. I secretly love making bread, because of all the different pauses to let it rise! In college I used to bake homemade bread while studying, and found it really calming and therapeutic.




These days I use the time between each stage to clean the kitchen, do a load of laundry, feed Charlotte lunch - the list goes on haha! And with the hands on time so spread out, these delicious  pesto rolls end up feeling like they were no work at all! Added bonus: your house smells like freshly baked bread. Pretty sure there's not a candle in this world that smells better than that!

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Ingredients: 

3 2/3 cups bread flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 packet dry yeast (I use Red Star)
1 teaspoon cane sugar
1 1/4 cups warm water (115-117 degrees)
1/2-1 teaspoon olive oil
1 (7 oz) container of fresh basil pesto
1 1/2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
3/4 cups grated parmesan cheese

Directions: 

Combine the flour, salt, yeast and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the dough hook attachment. Measure the water into a microwave safe measuring cup, and microwave for about 1 minute. It should be warm, almost hot to the touch. Pour the water over the flour mixture, and mix on medium speed until the dough clumps together into one mound. If the dough seems dry, add more water a teaspoon at a time.

After the dough has formed together, knead for about 5 minutes in the stand mixer, or 10 minutes by hand on a floured surface. The dough is ready when it's soft and almost feels bouncy. Drizzle the olive oil into a large bowl, coating the sides of the bowl as well. Lay the dough into the bowl, turning it a few times to cover all the dough with olive oil. Cover, and allow to rise in a warm place for about an hour. I put the covered bowl into my oven, and then preheat the oven to 170. The minute it reaches 170, I turn it off. Don't forget to turn it off - I did that once and it kind of weirdly cooked the dough. Oops!

Lightly grease a 9x9 casserole dish. Remove the dough from the oven, uncover it, and punch the dough down a few times to pop any air bubbles that may have formed. Turn the dough onto a floured surface, and dust the top of the dough with a little flour too. Roll the dough out into a rectangle, about 12 inches by 15 inches. Remember that it doesn't have to be perfect, just as close to a rectangle as you can get. Add extra flour to the work surface as needed to the dough doesn't stick!

Spread the pesto evenly over the dough, and then top with both the shredded mozzarella and parmesan. Carefully roll the dough, with the longer side facing you. Cut the log into 12 even pieces using a serrated and/or sharp knife, and lay each piece into the 9x9 casserole.

Cover the casserole dish with plastic wrap or foil again, and place into the oven. Again, I like to then preheat the oven to 170, and turn it off immediately when it reaches temperature. Allow to rise for about 45-60 minutes, or until the rolls are roughly doubled in size.

Uncover the bread, leaving it in the oven, and preheat the oven to 375 f. Bake about 30-35 minutes, or until the tops off the rolls are just beginning to brown, and the centers don't look doughy anymore. Remove from the oven, and allow to cool about 15 minutes. Enjoy!

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Kirsten Bell
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