Talk Takeaway: Italian Cooking with Fabio Viviani

Posted on Jul 17, 2013 10:45am

For The Talk's Food Festival, Chef, Restaurateur, and Cookbook Author Fabio Viviani stopped by for a Talk Takeaway: Cooking segment.  He showed the ladies his signature Italian dishes. Here are the recipes!

All Recipies From FABIO'S ITALIAN KITCHEN by Fabio Viviani. Copyright © 2013,
VF Legacy, LLC. Published by Hyperion in April 2013. Available wherever books are sold. All Rights Reserved.




Makes 8 meatballs

This is probably the best meatball you ever had in your life, or perhaps second only to the one your grandma makes. It's certainly easier, because there is no bothering Grandma here. The best thing about these meatballs is that they stay super moist regardless of how much you cook or overcook them. The tomato sauce preserves the moisture. Everything about meatballs calls for soft and moist. Everything about cooking something in the oven calls for hot and dry. Soft and moist does not go with hot and dry, so meatballs should cooked on the stovetop in marinara sauce.

 1 lb. ground beef

4 oz. whole milk ricotta cheese

1 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated

1 cup panko breadcrumbs

1 egg

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 shallots, minced

1 tbsp. olive oil

Salt and pepper

2 cups Fabio's Tomato Sauce (see recipe on page 18)

Fresh parsley, chopped, for garnish

Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling


Place all ingredients except the tomato sauce, the parsley, and the extra-virgin olive oil in a medium-size bowl and mix thoroughly by hand until they are completely combined and the mixture is uniformly firm.

Coat your hands in olive oil, and form balls slightly bigger than a golf ball.

Heat the tomato sauce in a saucepan over medium heat, then drop the meatballs into the sauce and add enough water to allow the sauce to reduce and simmer but not so much that the sauce is totally liquid. Cook for about 10 minutes on one side, then turn the meatballs over, add some more water, and cook for another 10 minutes, using a spoon to cover the meatballs with the sauce as they simmer. Remove from heat and let rest for 5 minutes.

Serve with chopped parsley, salt and pepper, more Parmigiano-Reggiano, and a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil, of course!

TIP: Don't waste expensive cuts of meat on meatballs! If prepared correctly, a cheaper cut of meat like beef shoulder/chuck, or even scraps will work perfectly.



Makes 2 cups

This is the simplest of sauces out there, so simple I don't even feel I want to call it cooking. But it's also delicious, so it does deserve the name of sauce.

6 cloves garlic

8 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1 28-oz. can of whole plum tomatoes (packed only in tomato juice)

Salt and pepper

10 basil leaves

Smash the garlic with the back of a knife. Place the garlic and 5 tablespoons of olive oil in a saucepan and cook over medium heat until the garlic is golden brown. Add the tomatoes and generous pinches of salt and pepper.

Cook over medium-high heat until the sauce is thick and no longer watery, about 10–15 minutes. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil and turn the heat to high. Stir, crushing the tomatoes with the back of a wooden spoon. Cook until the oil turns red, then turn off the heat and add the basil at the very end.



Vecchie al Forno

Serves 6

In the summertime, we used to get tons of veggies from my grandpa's garden, and sometimes we had a lot left over. When you have too many carrots to eat in a month, the carrots at the bottom of the bucket become all wrinkled, and it's the same with beets and eggplant. Just as Grandma has some wrinkles, the vegetables have wrinkles, too, so we used to call them roasted old ladies.

2 tbsp. balsamic glaze (see recipe on page 268)

½ cup olive oil

3 cloves garlic, smashed with a garlic press

3 tsp. fresh oregano, finely chopped

3 tsp. fresh basil, finely chopped

Salt and pepper

1 yellow bell pepper

1 red bell pepper

1 green bell pepper

2 large red onions, sliced in rounds

2 skinny or Japanese eggplants, quartered lengthwise and cut in half again

3 zucchini, cut into 1⁄3-inch-thick rounds

3 carrots, cut into 4 pieces lengthwise

3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1 cup breadcrumbs mixed with the zest of 2 lemons (see recipe for breadcrumbs on page 275)

Preheat the oven to 450˚F.

Whisk the balsamic glaze and the olive oil in a bowl large enough to hold all the vegetables. Add the garlic, oregano, basil, and salt and pepper to taste and whisk again.

Discard the seeds of the peppers and cut the peppers into 4 pieces lengthwise.

Toss all the vegetables into the bowl with the dressing and let them sit for about 30 minutes, mixing every once in a while. Distribute them into 2 baking dishes and roast for about 15–20 minutes or until the edges are golden brown.

Remove and serve with the extra-virgin olive oil and the lemon breadcrumbs on top.




Tiramisu della Mamma di Fabio
Serves 4–6

Buy a box of ladyfingers for this recipe. If you have any left over, they're fantastic soaked in milk the next morning. If you buy a big box, the best part of the recipe is you know you will have ladyfingers for breakfast.

1 pot strong coffee (about 3 cups), chilled

12 egg yolks

½ cup granulated sugar

2 lb. mascarpone cheese, at room temperature

1 tbsp. vanilla extract

30–35 ladyfinger cookies

1 chunk dark chocolate, large enough for grating

In a medium bowl, beat the egg yolks and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Either fold in the mascarpone or use the electric mixer on low to mix it in. Place the mixture in the fridge for about 30 minutes, until it is set.

Meanwhile, pour the cold coffee into a mixing bowl and add the vanilla extract. When the mascarpone mixture is ready, spread it in a thin layer on the bottom of a 6 x 9-inch baking dish.

Dip the ladyfingers one by one very quickly into the coffee, then lay them onto the mascarpone mixture. Repeat until the mascarpone is covered. With a cheese grater, shave some of the chocolate on top of the ladyfingers. Repeat the layers, starting again with the mascarpone, until the dish is full. The top layer should be mascarpone with chocolate grated over it.

Serve immediately or keep chilled in the fridge for later.

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