I just picked up a few packages of Arborio rice to make the traditional sweet Carnevale treats, “frittelle di riso” (recipe coming soon!) and decided to throw together some Pomodori al Riso, tomatoes stuffed with rice and herbs, a dish that is typically part of the Roman “tavola calda.” They’re obviously best with sweet summer tomatoes, but I found some pretty good vine-ripened tomatoes at the market (plus, their flavor will intensify with roasting).
Pomodori al Riso
Recipe by Majella Home Cooking ©
- 8 medium, firm yet ripe, vine-ripened tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- 2 tablespoons chopped basil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ cup Arborio rice
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil (plus more for drizzling prior to baking)
- Large pinch of sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Remove the stems from the tomatoes and cut a ¾ inch slice off the bottom (the side without the core), reserving the slices (these will serve as the “cap” for the tomato). Using a small spoon (with some help from a paring knife if needed), gently remove the pulp and seeds from inside the tomatoes over a medium bowl, until the tomatoes are pretty hollow, being careful not to puncture the flesh. Transfer the hollowed-out tomatoes to a roasting pan or baking dish. Add the pulp to the bowl of a food processor (or a food mill) and process until slightly chunky (strain it a bit if it’s very liquidy). Combine the pulp with the remainder of the ingredients and stir. Spoon the filling into the hollowed-out tomatoes almost to the top (you may have some filling leftover – I happened to have an extra tomato or two so made a few more) and loosely cover each tomato with its corresponding “cap.” Drizzle with a bit more oil and bake for about 50 minutes or until the skin is crispy and slightly brown and rice is tender, but al dente. (However, if the rice still seems too hard, lower the heat to 350 degrees and roast for an additional 5-10 minutes.) Allow to cool for about 10 minutes and gently transfer to a serving plate. Serve warm or at room temperature. Buon appetito!
Note: A few will inevitably fall apart, but not to worry, they’re still delicious!