This was my second recipe from our Gutsy Cook line up this past week.
As the recipe in Saveur mentions, Italian has the stuff vegetables thing down pack. Pretty much any antipasto table will have a vegetable that has been stuffed with meat, other veggies and in this case rice.
What appeal to me about this recipe is that fact that the most time consuming task here is prepping the tomatoes. You have to trim them, and then scoop out the inner pulp without puncturing the walls.
This little prepping step may be a zilch for some cooks. No biggie – cut top, scoop out pulp, and cut bottom. Done.
For my perfect convulsive ODC twin this took a while, since I wanted them perfectly hollow out, and wanted them to stand up tall and pretty and the tops needed to be at the right angle and the bottoms…
Never mind. (I know, I got a problem – I’m trying to deal. Lets move on.)
But other than that, you mix everything together with the UNCOOKED rice, stuff them, place them in a hot oven and let the heat do it’s thing. in less than one hour you have these perfectly cooked tomatoes which look great, smelled great and tasted even better. Not bad for a Sunday quick lunch.
Since this was my very first stuff tomato recipe, I did not deviate from the original instructions.
I did however, added some oregano in addition to the parley and basil. And for some reason that I could not understand, the recipe did not ask to season the tomatoes as well.
Hello Saveur, “tsk, tsk” on you!
So remember to season those hollow out tomatoes with a good sprinkle of salt and ground pepper. It’s not enough to have a great seasoned stuffing, if the vessel is blah – right?
The verdict was unanimous. We all love it. I was surprise when the rice cooked perfectly, not mushy, not hard – just the right “al dente”. The herbs gave it a fresh light touch, and it was a very satisfying meal. I thought we would feel cheated not having a heavy protein, but it was not missed at all.
I’m already thinking of other stuff to add to this filling to take it to another level - like pine nuts, Parmigiano or Asiago cheese, capers, olives, lentils, tuna or even some Shrimp!
See? Endless possibilities.
I also found another version, where potatoes were added to the dish to cook alongside the tomatoes, which I’m thinking would be an added goodie to me, since I love roasted potatoes.
You can find the recipe at Saveur.com