Baked Tomatoes Stuffed with Rice

Baked Tomatoes Stuffed with Rice

Serves 4. Time: About 1 hour (10 minutes hands-on) plus cooling time

4 medium-largish tomatoes, firm
3 Tbs. Arborio or other short grain rice
2 Tbs. parsley, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
3 Tbs. olive oil
Salt & Pepper

Preheat oven to 400º. Rinse and soak rice while you prep the tomatoes.

Slice off about ¼ of the bottom of the tomato (opposite stem end) and reserve. Working over a wide bowl to catch juices and seeds, with a small spoon carefully scoop out pulp and seeds without breaking the outer walls of the tomatoes. Arrange tomatoes cut side up in a baking dish that will just hold them comfortably. (Note: I like to line the dish with parchment for easy and compost friendly clean-up; I use an 8” square baking pan.)

Remove pulp from dish and chop finely. Return to dish and pour into measuring cup. You will only need about ¾ cup so discard or use the rest for something else. Drain rice and add to the tomato mix along with garlic, parsley, 2 Tbs. of the oil and plenty of salt & pepper. Mix well.

Spoon into tomatoes and cap them with the bottoms you reserved. Drizzle final Tbs. of oil over all. Bake about 40-50 minutes until tomatoes are soft. Let tomatoes cool to room temperature before serving. (This is key – the rice continues to absorb the garlicky, oily flavor as it cools and continues to soften.)

Adapted from Canal House Cooking Volume Nº 1

Note: You could add a pinch of other herb into the mix...even a bit of minced chili pepper, but the purity of the tomato taste is lovely by itself.