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- 8 x large tomatoes (preferably vine ripened or other non-pulpy, flavourful variety)
- 1 cup arborio rice
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (+ extra for drizzling)
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2 Tbls fresh basil
- 2 Tbls fresh oregano (or 1 tsp dried)
- 3 x potatoes (optional)
This recipe was handed down from my Roman nonna to my father and then on to me although I am the first to actually put it onto paper. As with many of the other fabulous recipes I’ve inherited from my family of passionate foodies (most of which remain only in memory) the basis is simple flavours of seasonal produce. This is a perfect dish when those beautiful vine ripened tomatoes are at their peak at the market or even better, fresh from the veggie patch!
• Twist off stalks if using vine ripened tomatoes. Cut the tops off just below the stem level. Use a dessert spoon to work around the tomato to separate the seeds and centre membranes from the outer shell. Scoop out the flesh into a medium sized bowl. A little twisting action will help with any stubborn ones.
• Tip the tomato flesh into the jug of a blender along with the garlic, basil, oregano, olive oil, a good pinch of salt and some ground black pepper. Pulse just until no large pieces remain. This takes me about 15 seconds in my blender. (You can also use a food processor, stick blender, or just chop everything up really fine if u don’t have a blender). Taste to check the seasoning – It should be slightly on the salty side as the rice absorbs a lot of the salt while cooking. Set aside 3/4 of a cup of this puree to use for the potatoes.
• Add the rice to the puree, stir and leave to absorb for 30 minutes. As a general guide, you need 1 heaped tablespoon of rice per each tomato (this works out to be 1 cup for 8 tomatoes). Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180c (355F). Arrange the tomatoes into a baking paper lined roasting pan. Place a small pinch of salt in each tomato shell and use your finger to give it a quick rub around the inside.
• To prepare the potatoes peel and cut into 8 pieces lengthwise. Toss these in a bowl with the reserved tomato puree.
• Fill the tomato shells to the brim. This usually uses almost all of the rice mix but if you do have some left over you can just tip it into a lightly greased ramekin, cover snugly with alfoil, and bake at the same time as the tomatoes (if you have enough room u can just nest it in the same roasting pan). Place the lids on top of the tomatoes. Scatter the potatoes around the tomatoes in a single layer and spoon a few tablespoons of the tomato puree left in the bowl over them. Drizzle over a little olive oil and a little sprinkle of salt on the potatoes (keep in mind that there is salt in the puree so go light here). Cover the dish with alfoil, making sure you have a tight seal to keep the steam inside.
• Place the roasting pan on the middle shelf and bake @ 180c (355f) or 170c fan forced for 1 hr. Remove from the oven and carefully remove the foil. There will be quite a lot of liquid in the base of the pan – this is normal. If the tomatoes have collapsed a little just use a spoon to gently push them back into shape. These will need to rest now for 30 minutes before serving.
• The potatoes will be cooked but as they have been in all that juice I like to crisp them up just a little. It also caramelises all those tomato juices that coat them..Yum! Just move them carefully onto a paper lined and lightly greased baking sheet. Drizzle a little olive oil over and place them back into the oven for 30 minutes while the tomatoes are resting. Serve the tomatoes warm or at room temperature and the potatoes hot. Great just on their own or with a little salad for a light meal or as a side dish with grilled meat or chicken.
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Great way to use up the surplus of tomatoes in the veggie patch. Very tasty, thanks for sharing
Glad you enjoyed them Amanda. I’m still waiting for a big enough tomato from the garden to stuff….waiting…waiting… lol