Roman Rice-Stuffed Tomatoes Recipe
Pomodori con il Riso – An Italian Summer Recipe
In the first of Local Aromas’ new Italian recipe series, we introduce you to a classic Roman summer dish which is not commonly found on restaurant menus but is often prepared in the home for a fresh lunch or picnic. Pomodori con il Riso makes the most of Rome’s glut of tomatoes in the summer months, using them to hold a herby rice stuffing before being baked in the oven on a bed of potatoes to soak up the excess juices.
Although the recipe requires a little time (leaving the rice to rest in the liquid for a while before filling and baking the tomatoes ensures maximum flavor), it is simple to prepare and can be made in advance; indeed the dish is usually eaten at room temperature.
Cook this for a little taste of Roman summer, wherever you may be!
Pomodori con il Riso – Baked Rice-Stuffed Tomatoes
6 large (or 8 medium) tomatoes
Handful of fresh basil
Handful of fresh parsley
Half a cup of extra virgin olive oil
1 red onion, peeled and halved
8 tbsp Carnaroli (risotto) rice
2-3 large potatoes, unpeeled
Carefully cut off the tops of the tomatoes, about 1 cm from the top, and place to one side. Use a spoon to scoop out the tomato flesh and seeds into a large bowl then, using your finger, rub salt around the inside of each tomato, turn them upside-down on a large plate and set them aside to drain while you prepare the filling. This will get rid off extra moisture and stop the tomatoes collapsing when baked.
Add the fresh herbs, red onion, and olive oil to the tomato flesh and season with salt. Use a hand blender or food processor to mix well until everything is finely chopped. Add the rice to the mixture, stir well and leave to rest for 30-45 minutes.
Once the rice has rested, place the empty tomatoes into a large baking dish and season the inside again with a little salt. Spoon the rice mixture into each one, leaving about 1cm space at the top to allow the filling to expand. Put the lids back on top of the tomatoes then cut the potatoes into wedges and fit them around the tomatoes. Drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil over the tomatoes and potatoes and add extra herbs if you wish.
Heat the oven to 180°C and bake for about 1 hour or until the rice is al dente and the potatoes turning golden.