INSALATA CAPRESE INVERNALE (winter Caprese salad, for four)
Mario says that “…the slow roasted tomatoes are better than any regular tomatoes for all but about three months of the year”
6 plum tomatoes, cut lengthwise in half
¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 clove garlic
3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
3 cups fresh basil leaves, plus a few leaves for garnish
2 tablespoons pine nuts
2 large bocconcini (from buffalo mozzarella) or 1 pound buffalo mozzarella, cut into quarters
1. Preheat oven to 200*.
2. In a medium bowl, toss the tomatoes with ¼ cup of the olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Place cut side down on a small baking sheet and bake f or about 2 hours, or until the tomatoes are softened.
3. Remove tomatoes from the oven and let cool.
4. Transfer the cooled tomatoes to a colander and set aside to drain while you make the pesto.
5. Combine the garlic and Parmigiano in a blender and pulse until the garlic is roughly chopped. Add the basil and pulse 7 or 8 times, or until the leaves are shredded. With the blender running, slowly add the remaining ½ cup olive oil, blending until smooth.
6. Toast the pine nuts in an 8 inch saute pan over medium heat, tossing frequently, until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a plate to cool.
7. To serve, arrange 3 tomato halves cut side down on each plate. Place a ball of mozzarella in the center and spoon 2 tablespoons of the pesto onto each ball of mozzarella. Sprinkle with the pine nuts and garnish with basil leaves.
from Mario Batali, Molto Italiano