Talk Food Festival: Fabio Viviani

Posted on Oct 24, 2013 10:45am

Chef, Restaurateur and Cookbook Author, Fabio Viviani stopped by THE TALK for The Talk Food Festival. He served up some rustic Italian classics he's known for at his restaurants, Café Firenze and Firenze Osteria. Here are the recipes so that you can make up your own Italian feast!

Serves 4


3 cups Fabio's tomato sauce (recipe below)

8 pieces beef shoulder or blade, 3 oz. each, cut to about 1/3-inch thick

8 slices prosciutto, or ham if you prefer

9 tbsp. olive oil

3 tbsp. garlic, minced

2/3 cup Parmesan Cheese, grated

8 springs rosemary (pick ones with a firm stalk)

Salt and pepper


Heat the tomato sauce in a small saucepan.

Meanwhile, place the beef in batches of 2 pieces between sheets of plastic wrap and pound them to about 1/3 of an inch thick with the pitted side of a meat mallet.

Lay a slice of prosciutto on each piece of flattened beef, and top each one with about 1 tablespoon of olive oil, minced garlic, and Parmesan.  Roll the pieces up like cigars. Using a skewer, pierce a hole in the center of each roll, and insert a sprig of rosemary to secure it.

Heat the remaining oil in a large sauté pan with a lid. Sear the beef rolls on all sides, seasoning with salt and pepper as you sear.

Cover the rolls with tomato sauce and cook, covered, over medium heat for approximately 10 minutes, or until they are cooked through.


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.

Serves 4 to 6


1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
Dash dry mustard
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 bunches fresh spinach, washed, dried and stemmed
2 crisp apples, any variety, cored and diced
½ cup chopped scallions, white part only
2/3 cup fresh roasted Hazelnuts
2/3 cup Currants
Fresh Mozzarella


Whisk the oil and vinegar together in a bowl, then whisk in the mustard until well blended. Season with salt and pepper.

Combine the spinach, apples, scallions, hazelnuts, currants, and in a large bowl. Whisk the dressing again, add to the salad, and toss. Serve with torn fresh mozzarella.



20 squash blossoms

2 cups sparkling water or 7-Up

2 cups flour

2 cups light oil

Salt and pepper


Soak the blossoms in sparkling water or 7-Up for about 30 minutes.

Take them out and without drying them, toss them in the flour until they are well coated all over. Place them on a wire rack and let them sit for at least 15 minutes.

Heat the oil in a deep sauté pan to 350˚F. Fry the blossoms until crispy to the touch on all sides, about 10 minutes. Remove them from the oil and season with salt and pepper. Do not let them sit on a soggy towel! Either eat them right away or put them back on the wire rack.



For the crust:

1½ cups flour, plus extra for dusting your work surface

A pinch of salt

¼ tsp. baking powder

½ cup sugar

1 tsp. orange zest, finely grated

1 egg

3 tbsp. heavy cream

12 tbsp. (1½ sticks) butter, very cold

For the filling:

4 Red Delicious apples (or other varieties that are not too hard or too tart), peeled and cored

Juice of 1 orange

½ cup walnuts, chopped

4 tbsp. grappa

For the topping:

½ cup brown sugar

3 tbsp. butter, melted

1 tbsp. grappa

1 tsp. baking powder

2 tbsp. heavy cream

2 egg whites


Preheat the oven to 375˚F.

To make the crust, place the dry ingredients and the orange zest in a food processor, turn it on, then add the eggs and the cream. When they are incorporated, turn off the food processor, add the butter, and pulse till the dough looks unified but still lumpy. Some little butter pieces should still be visible (this will make the crust flaky).

Remove the dough to a cool surface and, using your hands, form it into a ball. Wrap the ball in plastic wrap and put it in the fridge to chill for 10 minutes.

When it has chilled, place the dough on a floured surface and roll it out into a circle large enough to cover the bottom and sides of a 10-inch springform pan with about 1 ⁄2 inch hanging over the side.

Place the dough into the pan and then in the fridge to rest while you prepare the apple filling.

To make the filling, slice the apples in sixteenths and put them in a bowl with the orange juice to prevent them from discoloring. Put the walnuts and grappa together in a bowl and toss the walnuts to make sure the grappa really soaks in.

Take the pan with the prepared dough from the fridge and layer the walnuts on the bottom. Then remove the apple slices from the orange juice and layer them on top of the walnuts (don't add any of the leftover juice).

To make the topping, mix all the ingredients except the egg whites in a bowl. Then beat the egg whites to a medium peak in a separate bowl and fold them into the mixture. Spread over the cake top, pressing down a bit with a plastic spatula. Fold the dough hanging over the sides of the pan over the topping to form a border of about an inch all the way around the cake and bake for about 30–40 minutes or until the top and the pastry are nicely browned.

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.

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