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A young and slightly ignorant woman who has always loved baking and cooking, I want to make people happy with food as often as I can. I'm here to whisk away and explore!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Easy Being Green: Homemade Pesto Rolls

I like green. I have a bright lime green cardigan. Seriously, who has a incandescent neon green sweater? Oh yeah.

I do.

And sometimes I sport it with my key lime green earrings. Or Kelly green nail polish. The two times I painted my bedroom when I was a teenager: green.
I especially like green food. My favorite apples are the green ones. I nearly always order salads when I am at a restaurant. Avacados? Yes.
You get the point.

So given my love for the verde, you would assume that I would be the number one advocate for Pesto. It's the greenest of greenies. I mean, it's a paste.
Made of plants. Really green plants.

But for some reason I can't explain, I've never been able to appreciate Pesto. I really don't know why. It definitely isn't for lack of trying. Whenever I see it my little brain goes: "Oooo! Green food! How tasty. I'm sure I'll like it this time. It's so pretty...." I try it on pasta. I eat it on paninis. I buy it "fresh" from the produce section at the supermarket. Every time it's been a let down.

But, I had never made it before. It seemed like a lot of work for something I didn't enjoy too much. And it would dirty too many dishes, right? Most definitely.

When I had a party to cater recently, they asked for a few dozen pesto rolls to be included in the appetizers. I usually buy a nice container of the aforementioned "fresh" stuff at the nearest grocery store to save time. But for some unimaginable reason everyone was out of stock. Everybody had a pesto run or something and drained the Basil reservoirs. I must have missed the memo.
And thankfully, because it forced me to make my own. It was worth it. This pesto actually tasted good.
It tasted awesome! I was ready to put it on noodles, on toast, in a tortilla, mixed with scrambled eggs. I was honestly preparing to pesto-ize the world in a big way.

But I just rolled it up in these crescents. Because that's what I said I would do. I'll to have schedule another day on the calendar to smother the world in pesto, I guess.
Now, I'm giving you this crescent roll recipe because I'm so excited to tell you all about my new found green favorite. But I'm definitely going to be tweaking and twisting this recipe. Because although the rolls were good, the process itself is hard to work with. The dough hardly rises the second time, and it takes for-ev-er. And the roll itself could be softer, more tender...
So take this recipe with a grain of salt. Ha! I'm hilarious. Since it kinda needs a little more salt. In the recipe? Get it? Yeah...

Homemade Pesto Rolls
Yields about 3 dozen
2 1/2 cups flour + 2 cups flour
1 1/2 TB active yeast
1 cup warm milk
3 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup shortening
2 tsp salt
Pesto for filling-recipe follows

Mix your flour and yeast together. In a saucepan heat milk, shortening, and salt on stove top til shortening is just melted. Let sit til the milk is warm to the touch, not hot. Add to the dry ingredients and add eggs. Beat on low with a hand mixer for 30 minutes and then 3 minutes on high. By hand stir in 2 cups of flour to form dough. Knead the dough until it is smooth (about 5-8 minutes) Place in a greased bowl and let rise in a warm place until doubled (2 hours at least) Punch down dough divide into three parts. Let rest for ten minutes. Roll each section in rectangles. Cut your rectangles into 12 triangles. Spread the pesto thinly on the triangles and roll up starting with the widest end. Place on a cooking sheet or baking stone and let rise again for at least an hour. Brush with milk and bake at 375 until golden brown. Brush hot rolls with melted butter and serve warm or at room temperature.

Homemade Pesto
2 packed cups of clean basil leaves
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup of pine nuts or walnuts (I used pine nuts)
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

In a food processor pulse the basil leaves, pine nuts, and garlic cloves until coarsely chopped. Slowly add olive oil to mixture 1/4 cup at a time, processing until smooth. Season it with salt and pepper. Stir in the cheese. You can keep this in the refrigerator for about three days.

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