Stuffed Tomatoes

Since I had a bit of cooked rice leftover in my fridge from Thai month, this recipe for stuffed baked tomatoes jumped out at me over the weekend. Stuffed tomatoes are a great way to use leftover rice, and you can adjust the number of tomatoes by how much rice you have.  In this recipe, cooked rice is mixed with tomato, fresh herbs, garlic and Parmesan cheese, and then baked in the tomato.

The recipe below was adapted from Giada de Laurentiis’ “Everyday Italian” cookbook. The main thing I changed is that it called for rinsing the rice after cooking – which I don’t think needs to be done (and can add a chlorine taste if you have city water like I do!). Also, the original recipe said to mix raw garlic into the filling. With the short baking time, the garlic still tasted kind of strong and raw in the final product, so I think it would taste much better to saute the garlic first, as described in my adjusted recipe below.

Stuffed Tomatoes
2 ripe tomatoes
2/3 c. cooked rice
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 small garlic clove, minced
2 Tbsp. fresh basil, chopped
1 Tbsp. fresh Italian parsley, chopped
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 Tbsp. freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Heat the oven to 350 degrees, and grease a small casserole dish. Cut about 1/2 inch off the top of each tomato and set aside tops. Core the tomato if necessary. Then hollow out the tomatoes except for the outer rim of flesh, reserving about 1/4 c. of the tomato pulp (not the seeds and juice) from the tomatoes.

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a small non-stick skillet. Saute the garlic briefly until fragrant, then add the rice and mix to separate grains. Remove from heat and add tomato pulp and fresh herbs. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in Parmesan cheese and mix well. Stuff the filling into the hollowed tomatoes, mounding slightly. Replace the tops on the tomatoes, place in the casserole dish and bake for 20-30 minutes at 350 degrees.

Serves 2 as a side dish.

Adapted from: “Everyday Italian”, by Giada de Laurentiis

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