My garden has decided to produce quite a bit of basil. I love basil – the way it smells, how it freshens up a salad, and its smooth flavor in sauces. But, by this time of year, I’ve gotten a bit tired of chopping up basil and adding it to this-and-that.
I needed some inspiration.
Well, the other day, I was pursuing Pinterest (You don’t know about Pinterest? Well, I caution you, because it’s ADDICTING, but, sure, go ahead, check it out and then come back) and found a lovely and pretty recipe for caramelized onion gorgonzola flat breads. I love gorgonzola. The rest of my family? Not so much. But, those flatbreads were the total inspiration I needed to create something yum with all that basil. They just needed some tweaking.
Caramelized onion basil rolls.
You can make your own dough or used a pre-made bread dough from your frozen food section. Either way is totally fine. And, other than waiting for the dough to rise and the onions to caramelize, this is a super easy and tasty recipe perfect for snacking, cute appetizers, or in place of dinner roles.
I started the process by caramelizing the onions, which really is easier than you think. I had half a red onion and another half of a white that I sliced thin and placed in a sauté pan with 1 teaspoon oil, 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar, a couple shakes of salt and pepper, and a sprinkle of fresh thyme. You can use one medium onion, red, yellow, or white. Put your sliced onion over medium-low heat and stir every once in a while for about an hour. You can toss in a splash of water if things get dried out.
For real. That simple.
If you’re making homemade dough, now is the perfect time to get things started. Put a package of yeast in a large bowl and add 1 teaspoon brown sugar and 2 teaspoons oil. In a separate bowl, add 1/2 milk to 1/2 hot water and mix together to create a warm liquid and pour over the yeast, sugar, and oil. Let things bubble for about 2-minutes and then stir in 2-cups flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add another cup of flour and then dump everything on a nice clean work surface. Kneed the dough for about 5-minutes, working the rest of the flour into the dough. Then return to the bowl, cover with a kitchen towel, and let rest for an hour.
Now it’s time to get rolling! Punch down the dough and roll into a nice big, long rectangle. Turn off the heat on the caramelized onions and gather the rest of the ingredients:
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup fresh spinach leaves
4 ounces room temperature cream cheese
1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1/2 cup caramelized onions (or however much you’ve got in your pan)
Salt and pepper
Olive oil for brushing the tin and tops
Spread the cream cheese around the rectangle of dough. If it doesn’t cover the whole thing, that’s okay. Tear the leaves of spinach and basil and sprinkle over the top of the cream cheese. Evenly distribute the caramelized onions and then the cheese. Give the whole thing a sprinkle of salt and pepper and then roll, starting at one of the widest edges of the dough and rolling to the other edge. Pinch the edges together to seal and grab your muffin tin.
Preheat the oven to 400 F and brush the bottoms and sides of the muffin tin with olive oil. Cut the loaf into 1 to 2-inch sections and nestle into the muffin tin. Go ahead and brush the tops with oil, too. If you fill up the tin with rolls, save the rest of the dough for the next batch. Or, if you’ve got another muffin tin, go ahead and fill it, and then pop in the oven, too.
Bake your caramelized onion basil rolls for about 20-minutes or until the tops have turned a bubbly brown. Let cool for about 5-minutes and then pop out of the tins with the help of a butter knife.