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Fabio Viviani's Roasted Tomato and Buffalo Mozzarella Salad with Pesto

A Great Start to Any Top Dinner
skill level
Fabio Viviani was the handsome, charming Italian "Top Chef" contestant "fresh out of the boat," as he put it, who didn't take home top honors but did capture viewers' hearts. He was recently voted the "fan favorite" of the popular Bravo TV reality show and took home $10,000. From Florence, Italy, Viviani, 31, is owner and executive chef of Café Firenze Italian Restaurant and Martini Bar, in Ventura County, Calif. Here he shares some of his best recipes.
  • Salad6 Roma tomatoesOlive oil2 garlic gloves
  • mincedSalt & pepper
  • to taste2 balls buffalo mozzarella
  • in 3/4-inch slices (6 ounces per ball)10 leaves fresh basil
  • approximately Pesto1 lb. fresh basil
  • rinsed and patted dry1 1/2 cups extra virgin olive oil1 cup pine nuts2 cloves garlic3 oz. Parmesan cheese
  • grated Salt & pepper
  • to taste
step-by-step directions We've Made Cooking As Easy As 1-2-3! printer friendly version 
  • 1
    Preheat oven to 425°F. 
  • 2
    6 Roma tomatoes 
    Cut the 6 Roma tomatoes in half lengthwise and place cut-side up on a rimmed baking sheet. 
  • 3
    Olive oil
    2 garlic gloves, minced
    Salt & pepper, to taste 
    Drizzle liberally with olive oil, minced garlic, and salt and pepper to taste. 
  • 4
    Roast in the oven at 425°F for about 25 minutes. 
  • 5
    2 balls buffalo mozzarella, in 3/4-inch slices (6 ounces per ball)
    10 leaves fresh basil, approximately 
    To assemble the salad: Place the tomato and the mozzarella in a tower with a basil leaf between each layer. Season every layer with the salt and pepper and a drizzle of olive oil. 
  • 6
    1 lb. fresh basil, rinsed and patted dry
    1 1/2 cups extra virgin olive oil
    1 cup pine nuts
    2 cloves garlic
    3 oz. Parmesan cheese, grated 
    Salt & pepper, to taste
    Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend. 
  • 7
    Drizzle over salad. Add more basil and some shaved Parmesan for garnish, if desired. 

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