These Cheesy Tomato Basil Rolls are packed full of tomato flavor and fresh basil with gooey mozzarella cheese melting out of the middle and a Parmesan crust on top! These are the perfect snack or soup accompaniment.
I’m not a procrastinator. Okay, that’s not true – I procrastinate a little bit, as does everyone, but generally, I’m definitely the kind of girl who gets it done ahead of time. Yet, somehow, I’m sitting here at 8:08 AM, writing a post that was supposed to have gone out at 8. Behind this on my desk top is a cover letter I’m in the middle of writing, a (thankfully) finished case analysis for class today, and a five page draft of a memoir that’s due in one hour and is definitely supposed to be seven pages.
Normally, I would be majorly beating myself about it, filled with anxiety about the standards I’m not meeting. In reality, the “standards” are just really ones I’ve set for myself – and I do think that it is important to set high standards for yourself. For me at least, that’s how I get places. Set a goal, reach it, set another. I’m the same way with my tasks everyday. Sometimes though, like this week, things are just a little too hectic and filled for me to get my hands on everything that needs to get done. Things slip through, panic ensues, and I always get it done before the world comes crashing down.
So hopefully – fingers crossed – my email subscribers don’t hate me for getting the post up a little later than usual and my writing critic group accepts my five pages instead of seven. It’s not just the getting it done that I worry about – midway through the writing of my memoir, which is supposed to be a polished literary work, I realized the whole thing was writing in my blog voice. Am I supposed to rewrite it? I reread it a few times, debating, but decided not to. One month left of school EVER, and I’ll write how I want. I suppose it fits anyways, because you, my readers, are who I tell my stories to, so it came naturally to write my story that way. Maybe it’s not the way it is supposed to be done, but it’s the way that feels right.
Feelings and what’s right and wrong and anxiety-inducing and stressful feels like a constant tug, pulling me in a variety of direction. I’ll admit something: I’m graduating from college one month from tomorrow and I have no idea what I’ll be doing after that. I know so many people are in the same boat, but as I said, I’m not a procrastinator, and this feels a little too unsure for me. So, I’m trying to change my mindset. I’m trying to ride it out, get my job applications in between the mountains of assignments professors are trying to squeeze in, and continue to focus where my passion lies: here, with you guys, sharing recipes and making your lives (and mine :D) just a little bit more delicious.
So, speaking of delicious, let’s talk about what you’re really here for: cheesy tomato basil rolls. These rolls come together pretty quickly, though they do need to rise twice: once for the dough, and then another quick rise after you assemble the rolls. The dough is full of tomato flavor because of the tomato paste, and the fresh basil adds a nice hint of color and freshness.
The dough tastes almost pizza-y, which is surely helped out by the generous helping of Parmesan mixed into the dough and the ball of mozzarella in the middle. The mozzarella is the kicker, melting into your mouth as you take a bite. It takes these totally over the top and makes them extra delicious! I recommend the Parmesan on top too – it gets all browned and toasty, the perfect topping to these rolls.
These got devoured pretty much as soon as they were out of the oven and photographed. If yours last that long, a quick 30-seconds in the microwave rewarms the mozzarella in the middle for maximum enjoyment. These rolls would also be awesome as sandwich bread if you ditched the mozzarella in the middle. Someone on my Instagram suggested a BLT, and that’s totally something you should do with these. YUM.
If you’re in my boat, procrastinating and wanting to bake (as I always am), fresh bread is just the thing. Cheesy fresh bread is even better. These are the best and most delicious procrastination tool around. Give ’em a whirl – you’ll love it! Enjoy :)
- 1 packet (1/4 ounce, 2 1/4 teaspoon instant yeast)
- 3 ⁄4 cup warm water (110 to 115°)
- 2 tablespoons fresh basil (chopped)
- 1 ⁄4 cup parmesan cheese (grated + extra to garnish)
- 1 teaspoon crushed garlic (about 2 cloves)
- 2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 1 ⁄2-2 3⁄4 cups bread flour
- 10 1 1/2 ” cubes or balls of mozzarella cheese
- Egg white (for egg wash)
- In a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook or a large mixing bowl, stir together in 1 cup flour, instant yeast, basil, Parmesan cheese, sugar, and salt. Add the water, mix until combined. Add in the oil and tomato paste, mix. Add in additional one cup of flour and mix until a dough forms. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a stiff dough. It took me a little more than 2 1/2 cups total.
- Let your machine run on medium speed for about 2-3 minutes or until dough is smooth and elastic, or turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 3-5 minutes.
- Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
- Punch dough down; knead for 1 minute. Divide dough into 10 equal rolls (mine weighed 2.5 oz each). Press down into a flat circle and add the ball or cube of mozzarella to the center. Wrap the dough around the mozzarella and seal the edges. Place seam down on a lined baking sheet. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
- In a small bowl, whisk egg white with a little bit of water. Brush rolls with egg wash and sprinkle with extra Parmesan cheese. Bake at 375° for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pan to a wire rack to cool. Best served immediately.
Recipe adapted from Food.com