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23 February 2011

Tomatoes Stuffed With Rice (Pomodori al Riso)

When I see these big, red, plump tomatoes, I can't stop myself from buying them to make this dish. It's a very common one, especially in the "tavola calda" or  snack bars where you can find other salty foods for a quick & easy meal. All the Italian mothers & grandmothers (because they know the kitchens best) should have a recipe of their own for this classic but I tasted the best one in our neighbor's house. Well, what do you know, it's just around the corner!  She taught me how to do it and even gave me some tomatoes from their own farm.  So days after, I was in my own kitchen, recreating her wonderful stuffed tomatoes.  That was ten years ago. I'm still hanging on to her recipe and still dodging the others who think theirs are better.  

Tomatoes Stuffed With Rice (Pomodori al Riso)

Serves 4
  • 4 big, plump, firm tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped finely
  • 2 tablespoons basil, chopped finely
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • salt & pepper
  • 1/2 cup Arborio rice (or something similar)
  • 1 clove garlic,  minced
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 20 grams capers, chopped
  • 1 cup water

Preparing the tomatoes:

Cut off the top part of the tomatoes.  Set aside.

Scoop out the pulp, seeds & juice from the tomatoes.  Set aside.  Sprinkle some salt inside the tomatoes.  Set aside.

Preparing the filling:
Put the pulp in a food processor or blender to grind.

In a small cooking pot, mix rice, tomatoes, oregano, basil, parsley, garlic, 1 tbsp. of extra virgin olive oil, capers, water, salt & pepper.  Cook over low fire for 15 minutes until just cooked through.  

Fill up the tomatoes with the rice filling.  Cover with the top part of the tomatoes.   Put them on an oiled baking pan.  Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil & sprinkle with salt.  Bake for 45 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius.