Savory Swirl Buns

This is a recipe that my daughter found and shared with me.  The recipe was called “herby everything cheddar swirl buns” but I modified the recipe and you may want to modify it as well.  They look like cinnamon rolls, sans icing, but they are a savory, serve with dinner, bun.  They are easy to make and can be changed up to suit almost any palate.   I think they are best eaten warm out of the oven.  I shared half the recipe with a neighbor and a couple buns that were leftover I made into croutons and served them with tomato bisque.

Ingredients:

1 cup warm whole milk (my daughter used buttermilk)

1 packet instant dry yeast

1 T honey

2 eggs, beaten

2 T butter, melted

3 1/2 – 4 cups AP flour

1/2 tsp salt

3 cups (total) shredded Parmesan and asiago cheese

2 T basil leaves chiffonade (a fancy word for slicing basil into thin ribbons…stack, roll, slice)

2 T everything bagel spices

1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

1/2 cup roasted tomato pesto

This recipe is so easy when you use a mixer with a dough hook attachment.  Heat your milk (or buttermilk) to between 105 and 110 degrees.   In the bowl of the stand mixer combine the warm milk, yeast, honey, eggs, butter, salt, and 3 1/2 cups of flour.  Using the dough hook, mix until the flour is completely incorporated, about 4-5 minutes.  If the dough seems too sticky add some or all of the remaining 1/2 cup of flour.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a clean towel and let it sit at room temperature for about an hour or until it has doubled in size.

While your dough is rising make your filling.  Grate your cheese and combine the cheese, basil, everything bagel spices, and crushed red pepper.

Preheat the oven to 350.  Line a 9×13 pan or two 8” round pans with parchment paper or spray with cooking spray.

Once the dough has risen, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll into a 10×16 rectangle.  Spread the dough with the pesto.

Sprinkle the seasoned cheese mixture over the dough, lightly pushing it into the pesto.

Roll the dough into a log, pinching the edges to seal.  Using a sharp knife (or dental floss) cut into 12 rolls.

Put the rolls into the prepared pan(s) and cover with plastic wrap or the clean kitchen towel.

Allow the rolls to rise for approximately 30 minutes.  Bake for 20-25 minutes until the cheese is bubbly and the buns are golden brown.

Brush the buns with butter when you take them out of the oven.  Enjoy with a nice pasta dish or soup.

NOTE:  The original recipe called for 1/4 cup of basil pesto, 2 cups of cheddar cheese and thyme.  I changed it up to 1/2 cup of sun dried tomato pesto, fresh basil, and 3 cups total of Parmesan and asiago cheese.  More cheese and more pesto.  They can only make these buns better!  This recipe could be made a day ahead and stored in the refrigerator overnight covered with plastic wrap.  Don’t let them rise until you take them out before baking.  They will rise as they come to room temperature.  Any combination of cheese and pesto and herbs that appeal to your tastes or compliment your meal would work just fine.

 

 

Creamy Pesto with Asparagus and Chicken

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I have been on a bit of a blogging hiatus.  Not because I haven’t been cooking.  Probably mostly because I’ve been a bit lazy.  Last weekend we went to an Italian restaurant with a group of people and a friend ordered linguini with a creamy pesto sauce.  She said it was excellent and wanted to know how to make it so I thought I’d do a little experimenting.  I don’t usually like cream sauces but I actually did like this.  I liked it a lot.  I also prefer angel hair over linguini or fettuccini so that’s what I used.

Ingredients:

3/4 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup chicken broth (I used better than bouillon)

2 T butter

1/2 cup pesto

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese plus more for finishing

1-2 T olive oil

1 chicken breast sliced into medallions

1 bunch of asparagus cut into 1-2 inch pieces

1 can baby artichokes halved

1 heirloom tomato diced

1/2 pound pasta of your choice

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Heat a large kettle of salted water to boiling and cook pasta according to package instructions.

Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a heavy skillet.  Cut the chicken breast into medallions, season with salt and pepper and sear on both sides.  Put on a platter and keep warm until serving.

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If necessary add a little more olive oil to the skillet and add the asparagus.  Cook over medium high heat just until tender tossing occasionally.  Add the artichokes to the skillet and keep warm.

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In a medium size, heavy sauce pan heat the cream and chicken broth to a simmer.  Add butter and stir until melted.  Stir in the pesto and garlic powder.  Add the shredded Parmesan and stir until melted.

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Put the cooked pasta in a large skillet over low heat.  Reserve some of the pasta water.  Add the asparagus and artichoke hearts to the pasta.

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Add the chicken and the sauce and toss to coat.  If necessary add some of the pasta water.

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Add the tomatoes just before serving.

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Serve in pasta bowls and garnish with some additional shredded cheese and cracked pepper.  This dish was very yummy and for sure I will make it again.  I think that the addition of the pesto and the chicken broth made this dish a little less rich than typical cream sauces although heavy cream and butter play a major role here.

You can add your favorite vegetables in place of the asparagus and artichoke hearts or in addition to them.  You could also substitute shrimp or bay scallops for the chicken or make the dish meatless.  I used prepared pesto but obviously you could make your own and that would make the dish even better!

Mangia!Mangia!

Pesto

A good friend gave me a beautiful bouquet of fresh basil from her garden.

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I find my salad spinner to be the best tool for washing fresh herbs.

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Once the basil is clean and dry it goes into the food processor:
2 cups of packed basil leaves
3 or 4 cloves of garlic
1/3 cup pine nuts
and pulse until leaves are finely chopped. With food processor running on low add in a slow, steady stream:
1/2 cup good olive oil

Add salt and pepper to taste.

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If you’re going to use immediately stir in:
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

I froze mine using a silicone ice cube tray. Cover tightly before putting in the freezer. I will add my Parmesan when I’m ready to use the pesto.

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Now all we need is some pasta.