Summer starts on June 21st! But before I start jumping through the sprinkler I’ve decided to line-up a few go-to recipes. Simple dishes that can stand alone or sit nicely beside something from the grill. I’m looking for food I can make a day ahead in the cool of the evening and turn to again and again. Juicy stuffed tomatoes in the Roman style are first on the list.
Stuffed vegetables appear on just about every antipasti table in Italy, but Pomodori con riso (tomatoes with rice) are especially beloved during the heat of a Roman summer. Of course firm but ripe summer tomatoes make the perfect little vessel and can be stuffed with just about anything. But it’s the simple Roman rice-stuffed version that grabs my attention because they are best served at room temperature, or even cold from the refrigerator.
When it’s hot outside there’s nothing better than eating cold food.
These stuffed tomatoes are so simple I make them at home well before I plan to serve them. But in Rome, you’re just as likely to see great trays of them in the windows of a bakery or a rosticceria where they’re baked in the bread oven until the rice gets tender and the tomatoes just begin to slump. People pick them up on their way home from work or on their way to a cool countryside picnic.
It’s potatoes that make this dish different from most of the stuffed tomatoes you’ve eaten in your life. Typically Roman-style stuffed tomatoes are surrounded by chunks of golden potatoes – crisp on the top and sticky from tomato juice on the bottom. That’s Roman-style. GREG
3/4 cupextra-virgin olive oil(divided), plus more for drizzling
freshly cracked black pepper(for seasoning)
½ cuparborio rice
1 poundrusset poatoes(peeled and cut into ½ to ¾’-inch chunks
Trim about ¾” from stem-end of each one and set ends and set each of these “caps” aside. Working over a medium bowl, use a small spoon or melon baller to carefully scoop out inner pulp without puncturing the walls of the tomatoes. Sprinkle the insides of the empty tomatoes with some salt and turn upside down on a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
Meanwhile, add the fresh basil, shallots, garlic, and ½ cup olive oil to the tomato flesh and season with salt and black pepper. Use a hand blender or food processor to puree the mixture. Add the rice, stir well and set aside for at least 45 minutes so that the rice can absorb the flavorful liquid.
Position oven rack in the top third of oven, then preheat oven to 350°.
Toss the potato chunks with the remaining ¼‑cup olive oil, sprinkle with salt and arrange them along the bottom of a shallow casserole dish or baking tray large enough to fit all the tomatoes.
Scoop a generous ¼‑cup of the saucy rice filling into the hollowed out tomatoes (there may be a little filling left over), and place a reserved tomato end on top of each stuffed tomato as a cap then nestle the tomatoes on top of the potatoes. Drizzle a little oil over tomatoes, and bake until the rice is tender and the tomatoes are wrinkled and beginning to brown but still holding their shape, about one hour and fifteen minutes. Begin checking on the tomatoes after 30 minutes, adding a splash of water only if needed to keep the bottom from burning.
Remove from oven, and set aside to cool to room temperature. Serve with a generous drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil at room temperature or, on a hot day, chilled.
This is such a beautiful platter of tomatoes. I’m going to make this.
Thanks for sharing this delicious recipe, I love stuffed tomatoes and have to give these a try,
I really enjoy all the room temperature vegetables that you find served at Italian restaurants…I can make a meal on them. These tomatoes sounds perfect for summer.
Very fun, and perfect for summer! I really can’t wait for the height of tomato season.
Neat recipe! I’ve never made this dish, and now I really wanna. Using your recipe, of course. 🙂 Thanks!
This is so different — and in the best way. First, I didn’t know that you could eat a dish like this cold. That’s a huge plus. Beyond that, your description of the potatoes is tempting.
Greg, love this recipe. I have tomatoes on Bijouxs stuffed with cheese, like this take. Enjoy!
This looks like a summertime showstopper! The presentation is beautiful and the addition of crispy potatoes is a winner.
Absolutely smart and delicious! Love adding the potatoes! They definitely look juicy. Wouldn’t it be fun to run through sprinklers again? I guess you live you’re on water rationing, so that wouldn’t work so well.
This looks like such a summery dish! And what a great tip to cook during the cooler evenings! I’m surprised that there the tomato pulp is enough to plump and cook the rice. I’d love to try cooking this on the Big Green Egg, the addition of the signature smoky flavour would be spectacular!
To help keep my kitchen cooler during our hot, humid summer, I turn the hood fan on over the stove to draw the hot air out. Of course that would not work with wall ovens.
I love everything about this beautiful dish. Perfect for summer and so beautiful to add to any table. Love!