INSALATA CAPRESE INVERNALE

INSALATA CAPRESE INVERNALE (winter Caprese salad, for four)

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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

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