Everybody’s heard of Mozzarella Sticks but how about Mozzarella Cheese Filled Hearts with Roasted Red Pepper Pesto! This dish is perfect for your appetizer loving friends and family, they will enjoy every cheese filled bite.
Are you going out to dinner for Valentine’s Day or staying home? We’ll be home. I enjoy going out to dinner, just not on a busy holiday. If you share my sentiment and will be staying at home, these heart shaped appetizers would be a nice start to your Valentine meal.
Each savory heart can be created in mere minutes by using store bought pie dough and mozzarella cheese both cut using a heart shaped cookie cutter. Once baked, you can serve them with a homemade red pepper pesto, like I did, or if you prefer, some marinara sauce.
Mozzarella Cheese Filled Hearts (makes 12)
with Roasted Red Pepper Pesto
Cheese Filled Hearts:
flour for dusting cutting board
1 refrigerated pie crust (1/2 of a 15 oz. box ), thawed
1/4 inch thick slices of mozzarella cheese
1 egg white
optional, 1-2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Roasted Red Pepper Pesto:
12 ounce jar of roasted red peppers, drained and patted dry
1 teaspoon minced roasted garlic
2 ounces chopped roasted and salted almonds
1 tablespoon chopped flat leaf Italian parsley
1/2 teaspoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
salt and pepper, to taste
2 heart shaped cookie cutters (2 1/2″ and 1 1/2″ cutters)
baking sheet lined with parchment paper (needs to fit in your freezer)
food processor, blender, or knife
Unroll pie crust onto a large cutting board. Cut 24 hearts using the larger heart cutter, re-rolling dough as needed.
Cut 12 hearts using the smaller heart cutter out of the mozzarella cheese slices.
Brush egg white over one dough heart, place a mozzarella cheese heart in the center, top it with a second dough heart, press the edges of the dough together. Repeat.
Crimp edges of hearts with a fork.
Brush tops of ravioli with egg white. Place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
Optional: Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over the tops of each heart. If you prefer you can brush the egg white in a heart pattern on the dough and sprinkle the cheese over top or just leave them plain. I personally like how they look and taste completely covered in the grated Parmesan cheese.
Freeze hearts for 15-20 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees and make pesto.
Puree roasted red pepper, roasted garlic, roasted almonds, parsley, lemon juice, and 3 tablespoons of parmesan cheese in a food processor, keeping puree somewhat chunky. Add oil and puree just to incorporate the oil. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Pour into a small serving bowl.
If you don’t have a food processor, you can use a blender. If you have neither, then just chop everything really fine and mix it together by hand.
The pesto can be made up to a few days ahead of time and kept covered in the refrigerator.
Remove the hearts from the freezer and bake for 8-12 minutes until golden brown. Be sure to keep an eye on them during the last few minutes of baking. If the cheese begins to ooze out of the pie crust hearts, remove them from the oven. If some cheese does ooze out, you can cut it off using a knife.
Serve hot alongside the pesto or marinara sauce.If you’d like a similarly easy dessert, why not use the second pie crust from the box to make these…
Items used to create this recipe that are available on Amazon.com (commission earned for sales)