January 4, 2015

Cheesy Pesto Rolls

I've been loving on recipes from How Sweet It Is for years now, and once again find another winner with this delicious pesto bread.  They're packed with flavor, an amazing balance of soft with crispy cheesy tops, and just right for sprucing up any dinner.
On a side note, this recipe makes the rolls from scratch.  You could easily use store-bought rolls and top them with the pesto and cheeses, but you won't get anywhere near the rich flavor and amazing texture you get with the from-scratch approach.

Cheesy Pesto Rolls

Makes: 14 large rolls  Total Time: 3 hours


  • 1 cup warm milk
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 packet (2 teaspoons) active dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided, plus more for work surface
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1/3 cup basil pesto, divided (I bought a jar of pesto, but you can easily make some by blending fresh basil and olive oil in a blender or food processor)
  • 1/4 cup finely grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese, plus more for topping
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter
  • 6 ounces fontina cheese, freshly grated
  • Chopped fresh basil for garnish
  1. Mix the warm milk and water in the bowl of a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment.  Add the yeast and honey, then the olive oil.  Let stand until foamy (about 15 minutes).  Note: The foaming will be obvious.  If the mixture looks the same as when you started, your yeast may not be good.  If so, start again with another packet of yeast.
  2. Add 2 1/2 cups of the flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 egg, 2 tablespoons of the pesto, and 1/4 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese.  Mix on medium-low speed until just incorporated.  Switch to the dough hook, knead on low speed, and slowly add the remaining 1 cup of flour.  Mix on low speed for 5-6 minutes.  The dough should be slightly sticky but still pull away from the sides of the bowl.  If it's too sticky, slowly add more flour until silky in appearance.
  3. Oil a large bowl.  Turn out the dough into the oiled bowl, cover with a damp dish cloth, and set in a warm place (such as on top of a warm oven).  Let stand 1 1/2 to 2 hours until dough is roughly doubled in size.
  4. Lightly flour a work surface, gently turn your dough out onto the surface, and knead a few times.  Tear off 12-15 equal pieces of dough.
  5. Preheat oven to 350°.  Brush a large oven-safe skillet with melted butter.  Roll your pieces of dough into balls and place in the skillet.  Brush with the melted butter and sprinkle with the grated fontina cheese.  Spread the pesto on top and between the rolls.
  6. Bake 30-35 minutes or until golden and cooked through.  Remove from oven and sprinkle with some more parmigiano-reggiano cheese and chopped fresh basil.  Serve warm.
Little dough balls waiting for the pan.

Nestled in, topped with cheese and pesto.  Already smells great!

Loooook at that golden amazing wonderfulness!

Pro tip: Whenever you make something with a skillet in the oven, put an oven mitt on the handle when you take it out.  This way, when you inevitably reach for the handle, you touch the mitt and not the blazing hot handle.


I don't care that I'm writing this at 9 am.  I want some RIGHTNOW.