One of my husband’s sisters is currently serving a mission for our church in Italy. She’s been gone for almost a year and half and comes home soon. Periodically, while she has been gone, we have tried to make at home or to eat at restaurants more authentic Italian dishes. We’ve tried some pizzas that are pretty far from anything you’ll find at Pizza Hut. We had arancini, which is basically deep fried risotto balls. And recently, we tried this dish. I only include it in the authentic category since the food blogger I adapted this from ate it originally in Rome.
I was very skeptical about this dish going into it. I wasn’t sure about the whole tomatoes. The potatoes seemed like carb overkill since we already had rice. And there just wasn’t enough sauce to seem like this would be good. But it blew my expectations out of the water. It was so incredibly delicious. And despite needing to be baked in the oven, it tasted like summer. I can only imagine how good this will be in a few weeks when tomatoes are really in season. Enjoy!
Rice Stuffed Tomatoes (Serves 4)
8 medium-to-large tomatoes
¾ teaspoon salt, divided
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
½ medium onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (to taste)
½ cup arborio rice
6 medium yukon gold potatoes
½ teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning or 2 tablespoons fresh basil or parsley, chopped
½ cup whole wheat breadcrumbs
1. Preheat oven to 350. Lightly coat a baking dish with cooking spray.
2. Cut the tops off the tomatoes. Scoop out the seeds and flesh over a non-aluminum bowl, making sure you get the juices. Do not cut through the bottom of the tomato. Sprinkle ½ teaspoon of salt over the inside of the tomatoes. Place them upside down on a plate to drain for 15 or so minutes. Add any drained juices to rest of tomato juice/flesh.
3. Pulse scooped out tomato juice/flesh in a blender until coarsely pureed.
4. Heat a large skillet with 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Saute onion for 2 minutes, or until it begins to soften. Add garlic and red pepper flakes, cooking one minute more. Add rice. Cook together for 2-3 minutes, until rice begins to toast. Add tomato puree. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to medium-low. Cover with a lid and let simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Rice should not be fully cooked. Stir in herbs.
5. Clean potatoes. Cube into small-medium pieces. Toss with remaining tablespoon of oil, ¼ teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon black pepper.
6. Spoon rice mixture into tomatoes, but don’t fill it all the way up. Place tomatoes in the baking pan. Arrange potatoes around tomatoes in pan to help keep tomatoes upright. Sprinkle breadcrumbs over the tops of the tomatoes.
7. Bake 30-45 minutes, or until tomatoes are soft and potates are tender.
Nutritional Information (Amount per serving):
Protein: 11 g
Fat: 8 g
Saturated Fat: 1 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Carbohydrates: 91 g
Fiber: 12 g
Sodium: 599 mg
Recipe Notes: I would stay away from roma tomatoes. Choose more of a slicing type tomato, like beef steak or one the vine. They need to have a flat bottom so they at least kind of say up on their own. If you have a medium or short grain brown rice, that would also work here. You would just need to par-cook it first, as in this recipe. I would cut the potatoes a little smaller than shown in my picture. These took a very long time to cook.
Recipe Source: slightly adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Low iodine adjustment: Use non-iodized salt and homemade bread crumbs (from homemade bread).