Tomato Basil Rolls

A model bunny for Hop Day.  To me, this pose says “No, darling I don’t mind if you take my picture, just don’t bother me, I’m trying to work on my tan.”  Maybe I should have photoshoped in some sunglasses.  Either way, Izzy is looking mighty fine in this one.  Just look at those little bunny legs.  Adorable.

I know earlier this week I talked about my disdain for certain vegetables.  First on the list is a red, juicy item that is ubiquitous in many kitchens around the world…except for mine.  Nope, you will never find a tomato in my kitchen, unless it’s been diced, crushed or sauced and then shoved in a can.   Or in the fridge in a clear plastic bottle.

You see, the thing I can’t stand about tomatoes is their texture.  Their skin is firm, but their insides are mushy, and the taste of fresh tomato has just never appealed to me.  I can however, tolerate cooked tomato, as long as there aren’t big chunks of the vegetable floating around.  Yep, I’m that person that picks tomato chunks out of their pasta sauce.

Also, I’ve been known to put ketchup on pretty much any protein source.  I know it doesn’t count since it’s mostly vinegar and high fructose corn syrup, but I’m just trying to prove a point.  As long as they’ve been mashed up and cooked, I’m ok with tomatoes.

Which brings me to these rolls.  They get their tomato flavor (and awesome color) from tomato paste, which is totally fine in my book.  Add in some dried basil, and you’ve got yourself one delicious bread bun.

Eat one with a slice of fresh mozzarella, and you’ve got a Caprese salad!  Well…maybe not.  But they are fabulously tasty with pasta, or as a snack.

Tomato Basil Rolls

Adapted from Thyme

Makes about 12 rolls

2 Tbsp active dry yeast
1 cup hot water
6 oz tomato paste
1 Tbsp dried basil
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp sugar
4 ¾ cups bread flour (or all purpose)
A beaten egg and freshly grated parmesan for garnish (optional)

In a large bowl, mix together the yeast, water, tomato paste, basil, oil, and butter. Let sit for 3 minutes, until the yeast is dissolved and frothy. Add the sugar, salt and then the flour and mix with a wooden spoon until the dough comes together.  Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 3-5 mins until the dough is elastic. Put dough in an oiled bowl and cover with a damp cloth.  Let rise in a warm place for about 1 hour or until doubled. Line a baking sheet with parchment or grease it. Form the dough into balls and place on the baking sheet. Cover with a cloth and let rise for 15 minutes more. Brush with egg and sprinkle with parmesan cheese if desired. Bake at 425º for about 10 minutes.  Let cool for 10 mins and serve!


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