Fabio Viviani, owner and executive chef of Cafe Firenze and Firenze Osteria in Los Angeles and Siena Tavern in Chicago, returned to THE TALK for The Talk Food Festival. Fabio showed our hosts some delicious and easy dishes for an Italian dinner party.
Baked Ziti with Italian Sausage Ragu
2 tbsp. olive oil
4 oz. thinly sliced pancetta, chopped
2 lb. hot Italian sausages
1 yellow onion -diced
1 carrot -diced
1 celery stalk -diced
5 fresh oregano sprigs
4 large garlic cloves, chopped
1 bay leaf
½ tsp. dried crushed red pepper
1 c. dry white wine
1 x 28-oz can San Marzano tomatoes -crushed
1 lb. ziti pasta
2 c. fontina cheese –grated
1 tbsp. butter
1) Heat oil in a heavy bottom large pot over medium-high heat. Add pancetta and sauté until brown and crisp. Using slotted spoon, transfer to a plate. Add sausage to same pot. Sauté until no longer pink, breaking up with a flat end wooden spoon, about 5 minutes. Add onions, carrots, celery, oregano, garlic, bay leaf, and crushed red pepper. Reduce heat to medium-low; sauté until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.
2) Add the wine and bring to a simmer scrapping up all the browned bits from the bottom. Add the pancetta back to the pot together with the tomatoes and partially cover with a lid.
3) Allow the sauce to simmer for 2 hours stirring often and adding a little bit of water if necessary. Season the ragu to taste with salt and pepper and discard the bay leaf.
4) Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain pasta and toss it with the sausage ragu.
5) Grease a baking dish with the butter then transfer the pasta in it and sprinkle it with the fontina cheese. Bake until heated through and golden brown on top, about 20 minutes.
Roasted Vegetables with Feta Cheese
6 tbsp. olive oil
2 big eggplant, halved lengthwise
2 yellow bell peppers, halved and seeded
4 bunch green onion, ends trimmed and halved
3 zucchini, halved lengthwise
2 large yellow onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
2 tsp. fresh oregano
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
6 cups basic vegetable stock
1 can Whole tomatoes puree
2 cup crumbled feta cheese
Balsamic vinegar, for drizzling
1. Preheat stove-top grill pan.
2. In a large bowl, combine 3 tbsp. of the oil, the eggplant, peppers, green onion cut in half, zucchini and toss to coat the vegetables.
3. Place the vegetables on the grill and cook for 6 minutes, until tender crisp and slightly charred with grill marks on all sides. Remove from the grill and cut into 1-inch pieces
4. Heat the remaining oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, and garlic and sweat for 4 minutes, until tender.
5. Add the thyme, oregano, bay leaves, salt, pepper and stir to coat the vegetables.
6. Add the stock and tomatoes and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat, partially cover, and simmer for 20 minutes.
7. Add the grilled vegetables and simmer 2 minutes. Top with feta cheese and balsamic vinegar.
Red Onion Fritters
Sunflower Oil, for shallow-frying
1 lb. Red Onion, sliced thin
3 tbsp. plain Flour
1 tsp. smoked Paprika
1 tsp. Oregano
1 tsp. Curry
1 large Egg
2 tbsp. Milk
coarse Sea Salt
1. Heat oil in a dutch oven to 365º F.
2. Fry onions until softened. Remove and let cool completely.
3. Once cooled, mix onions with remaining ingredients and form small balls.
4. Fry 5-7 balls at a time, not crowding the pot. Remove, drain on paper towels, and season with sea salt.
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 tablespoon brown sugar
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
¾ cup all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
6 large eggs
2 pints chocolate ice cream
Dark chocolate sauce
1. Heat oven to 400°F. In a medium saucepan, combine the first 3 ingredients and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil, stirring to melt the butter. Remove from heat and stir in the flour and cocoa.
2. Cook the flour mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it pulls away from the sides of the pan, about 1 minute. Let cool for 5 minutes.
3. Add 5 of the eggs to the saucepan, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Drop mounds of dough (about 1 tablespoon each) 2 inches apart on parchment-lined baking sheets (you should get about 24).
4. Beat the remaining egg; brush it over the dough. Bake the profiteroles, rotating the baking sheets halfway through, until puffed and golden, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool completely on the baking sheets.
5. Serve with Ice Cream and chocolate sauce drizzled on profiteroles.