I grew up in Rome where Pomodori al Riso are a classic local antipasto. These baked tomatoes stuffed with rice are always a success and one of my favorite Italian dishes. For years I searched for the recipe in Italian cookbooks, but since it is such a regional dish, it was not easy to find…My girlfriends are always amazed that it only uses half a cup of rice, the potatoes are optional, but if you buy these at a Roman Tavola Calda (take-out) they always include potato wedges.
Pomodori at Riso: Tomatoes stuffed with Rice
8 ripe medium sized tomatoes
1/2 cup pearl grain rice (Italian risotto rice works well, but any round rice is ok)
2 cloves minced garlic
2 tablespoons chopped basil
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
salt and pepper (don’t be conservative with the condiments)
optional: 1 potato, peeled and sliced into wedges
Pre-heat the oven to 380° F (195° C)
Remove stems from the tomato tops and cut off the tops about 3/4″ from the top.
Save the tops and scoop out the inner tomato pulp.
Blend the tomato pulp with the garlic, basil, parsley, olive oil, salt and pepper.
Mix the rice and potatoes in by hand.
Arrange the tomatoes in a baking dish and fill them with this mixture. It’s all right if some of it spills over. Put the lids back on the tomatoes and bake for about an hour. The tomatoes should be soft and a bit browned.
Remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature.
Traditionally these are eaten with other vegetable antipasti at room temperature, but they are also delicious served warm as a vegetable side dish. I usually make them without the potatoes, but if you want to be truly authentic, it’s more Roman with the potatoes.
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