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Monday
Sep052011

« Tomatoes Stuffed with Rice »

When I came across this recipe for Pomodori al Riso on Elizabeth Minchilli's food/travel blog, I just knew that I had to try it. I also knew that the perfect time to try the recipe would be late August -- when tomatoes are at their peak and I am in the country on vacation.

  


Elizabeth's recipe calls for 12 medium sized tomatoes.  Ideally, they should be about the same size, but if they aren't, don't stress. This is a non-stress kind of recipe.

To prep the tomatoes, cut off the tops and reserve.  Using a spoon (or melon baller), scoop the pulp out of each tomato, and place it (along with the juice) in a separate bowl. While preparing the filling, place the tomatoes and tops (upside down) on a paper towel to drain.

The filling for the tomatoes consists of the pulp, the juice, onion/garlic, olive oil, rice and salt/pepper to taste. I like to add finely chopped basil for additional flavor, but other fresh herbs work equally as well.

After the ingredients are combined, let the mixture sit for approximately 90 minutes before stuffing the tomatoes. This will allow the rice to soften and swell -- eliminating the need to precook it. The remaining tomato juice and olive oil will be absorbed by the rice as the tomatoes bake. 

To assemble the dish, oil a large baking dish. Place the tomatoes snuggly in the dish; season the inside of each tomato with salt and pepper and place a whole basil leaf on the bottom.

In Rome, these tomatoes are traditionally served with roasted potatoes. If this seems like carbohydrate overload, you can certainly eliminate them.  But honestly, I wouldn't. They are really delicious and they can always be eaten at a later time. They also serve a highly functional purpose: they keep the tomatoes in place while roasting.

After placing the potatoes around the tomatoes, fill each cavity with the rice mixture and place the corresponding top back on each tomato.

 

I used 7 small, new potatoes for this dish, which I scrubbed clean and cut into quarters. If your potatoes are larger, you can use fewer.  I like to toss the potatoes in some olive oil before adding them to the pan, so that the oil is evenly distributed. Additional olive oil should be drizzled directly onto the tomatoes before they go into the oven.

The tomatoes bake for approximately 90 minutes at 375 degrees. Ovens vary, so I would check them after an hour (The dish is generally done when the potatoes are fully cooked and the rice has absorbed all the liquid.) 

Pomodori al Riso is a true summer dish, that is typically served at room temperature. It can be served as an appetizer, a side dish, or a light summer meal. However you eat it, I know you will enjoy it. It was certainly an overwhelming hit when my mother and I prepared it for friends and family over Labor Day Weekend. 

The printable recipe is here.

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Reader Comments (2)

Michelle, sei sempre bravissima.

Dino.

September 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDino Cervone

Michelle, your pomodori look gorgeous!!!!

September 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterElizabeth Minchilli

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