Winter Caprese Salad

Winter Caprese Salad


12 plum tomatoes, cut lengthwise in half
1 and 1/2 cups extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic
6 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
6 cups fresh basil leaves, plus a few leaves for garnish
4 tablespoons pine nuts
8 large bocconcini (from buffalo mozzarella) or 2 pounds buffalo mozzarella, cut into quarters
Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Preheat the oven to 200°F.

In a large bowl, toss the tomatoes with 1/2 cup of the olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.

Place cut side down on a small baking sheet and bake for about 2 hours, or until the tomatoes are softened.

Remove the tomatoes from the oven and let cool.

Transfer the cooled tomatoes to a colander and set aside to drain while you make the pesto.

Combine the garlic and Parmigiano cheese 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 1 cup olive oil, blending until smooth.

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.

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. Makes 8 servings.

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