Tomatoes Stuffed with Rice
SERVES 4 - 8
Stuffed vegetables appear on every antipasto table in Rome—including the spectacular one at Casale on the via Flaminia, where this recipe comes from.
8 firm, ripe medium tomatoes
1/2 cup Italian risotto rice (preferably vialone nano)
2 tbsp. finely chopped parsley
2 tbsp. finely chopped basil
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Position oven rack in top third of oven, then preheat oven to 400°. Pull stems off tomato tops, then trim about 3/4'' from bottom of each one and set ends aside. Working over a medium bowl, use a small spoon to carefully scoop out inner pulp without puncturing the walls of the tomatoes. Arrange scooped-out tomatoes in a medium baking dish, and set aside.
2. Pass tomato pulp through a food mill or pulse in the bowl of a food processor to a chunky purée, then transfer back into bowl. Add rice, parsley, basil, garlic, and oil; liberally season with salt and pepper. Mix well. Spoon filling into prepared tomatoes (there may be a little filling left over), and place a reserved tomato end on top of each stuffed tomato. Drizzle a little oil over tomatoes, and bake until rice is swollen and tender and tomatoes are soft and well browned, about 50 minutes. Remove from oven, and set aside to cool to room temperature.