As our exceptionally warm summer winds down, the bumper tomato crop is winding down, too. These rice-stuffed, slightly cheesy tomatoes are a good vegetarian side dish, or a meal on their own. This recipe is from Sunset magazine.
Cut tops off the tomatoes, about 3/4 in from the stem. Keep the leaves and small stems attached. Carefully scoop out the tomato pulp and juices into a food processor, until you have just the tomato walls. Puree the pulp and juices – you should halve about 1 cup. Trim a thin slice from the bottom of each of the tomatoes, so the tomatoes sit flat.
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, cook 1/4 cup chopped onion and a minced garlic clove until they’re lightly browned. Add 1/3 cup medium-grain white rice, salt and pepper, and 1/3 tsp red chile flakes. Add 2 or 3 strands of saffron if you like, for a slightly smoky, golden flavor. Stir in the tomato puree as well, and 1/8 cup water.
Cook uncovered, stirring from time to time, until the liquid is reduced to the surface of the rice – 8 to 10 minutes. Turn the heat to medium-low, cover and cook, stirring once or twice, until the rice is cooked through – about 15 minutes. Stir in the 1/3 cup grated parmesan and 1 T each of chopped parsley and basil.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 450. Grease a shallow baking dish with olive oil.
Stuff the rice into the six hollowed out tomatoes and brush the tomato tops with olive oil. Put the tops on the tomatoes, and bake at 450 until the tomatoes soften a bit – 12 to 15 minutes.
- 4 medium firm-ripe red tomatoes
- Olive oil
- 1/4 cup chopped onion
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/3 cup medium-grain white rice
- salt and pepper
- red chile flakes
- 2 or 3 strands of saffron (optional)
- 1 T each chopped parsley and basil leaves
- 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
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