Friday, July 20, 2007

Stuffed Tomatoes

Well, I was a little late on making my stuffed tomatoes. Life happens. But today was the DAY! I used Giada’s recipe from my Everyday Italian cookbook and boy did they hit the spot. I’ve made them before, but never this light. They just tasted bright and fresh and everything summery. I guess it also helped that I accidentally used cilantro instead of parsley. They look so similar! But what does parsley add taste-wise anyway? Cilantro added a nice vibrant touch that was especially nice, although I find it hard to chew because, you know, “finely chopped” is a nice idea and all but those of us without knife skills generally resort to chunk-style. Barring that, I would definitely make these again as a side. She uses rice as the main stuffing ingredient whereas I usually use bread crumbs and cheese for something more filling. These almost qualified as an aperitif because they whet my appetite something fierce, but I have to leave the rest of the tomatoes for the roommate. Wah.

These were incredibly easy and fast. The only time-consuming part might be the rice, because I always seem to do something stupid. That and waiting for the fire in your oven to put itself out. Whoops. They finished nicely in the toaster over, which will remain the main cooking appliance until I do some cleaning.

Stuffed Tomatoes
From Everyday Italian by Giada De Laurentiis.

2/3 cup Arborio rice or med-grain white rice
1 tsp plus 2 T olive oil
4 ripe but firm large tomatoes
4 T chopped fresh basil
3 T chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (I still suggest cilantro)
1 garlic clove, minced
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
¼ c freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Cook rice until just done and rinse under cold water. Drain well and set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease your baking dish with 1 tsp olive oil. Cut ½ inch-thick slices off the tops of each tomato and set aside. Scoop out the insides into a bowl. Arrange tomatoes in baking dish.

Add ¼ cup tomato pulp to the rice. Stir in the basil, parsley (cilantro), garlic, 2 T olive oil, salt and pepper to taste, and parmesan cheese. Adjust seasonings to taste. Spoon rice mixture into tomatoes. Replace reserved tops on tomatoes and bake until rice is heated through- about 20 minutes. Serve hot or room temperature.

I don’t have an after picture because I just made one, saving the rest for my roommate and one for me for later. More importantly, I made sweet, sweet love to it the second it popped out of the toaster oven. But don’t the rest look lovely?

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