Italian Regional Recipes Secondi Piatti: Meat, Fish, Eggs, Cheese

Stuffed-Rice Tomatoes Roman-style

Juicy tomatoes stuffed with rice and flavoured with Mediterranean aromatic herbs, then oven-baked. Pomodori a riso in Italy call summer and the sea. They are typical of the traditional Roman and Latium cuisine, eaten cold in summer and lukewarm in winter. In the City of Rome, Stuffed-Rice Tomatoes are always accompanied by potatoes baked together with tomatoes, thus they are a complete secondo piatto with a side-dish.

Traditionally the rice is baked after being soaked for about 20 minutes in the aromatic tomato pulp and this is the version of this recipe.


Serves 4, Preparation time 20 mins, Cooking time 60 mins

  • 8 large, firm, ripe round tomatoes
  • 3 yellow potatoes medium-sized
  • 150 g of rice, preferably Roma, Baldo or Vialone Nano varieties – but ok also Arborio or Carnaroli
  • Garlic cloves, peeled, 2
  • Basil leaves, chopped, 8
  • Dry oregano, a handful
  • Chopped mint leaves, 6-7
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Extra virgin olive oil, to taste

Method

Cut the round cap at the top of each tomato, empty them with a teaspoon by placing the inner pulp and the vegetation water in a bowl.

Add a pinch of salt into each empty tomato.

Blend the pulp of the tomatoes with two chopped garlic cloves, 3 tablespoons of Evoo and a pinch of salt and black pepper. Then add a generous handful of oregano, chopped mint and basil leaves, stir well.

Pour the rice into the sauce, stir and let it absorb the seasoning for 20-25 minutes.

Meanwhile, let’s prepare the potatoes:

Cut them into chunks or wedges, place them in the same pan with the tomatoes. If you think 30 mins of cooking may not be enough, after cutting them into pieces, you can blanch them 5 minutes before putting them in the oven with the tomatoes. Or just cut them into smaller pieces.

Tip: sprinkle the potatoes with a few spoonfuls of the seasoning used to flavour the rice before baking them along with stuffed tomatoes, so they will absorb all the aromas. Salt them only at the end of cooking.

Now stuff each tomato with the seasoned rice: you have to fill them not completely, only for about 2/3 so that the rice will cook and swell and fill them without breaking them. The rice must be very soaked and wet. Add a drizzle of Evoo on each tomato.

Grease a baking tray with a little oil and place the tomatoes on it, each one covered with its own cap.

Bake for 30-35 minutes in a preheated oven to 200°C.

Note: another method is to stuff tomatoes with the rice already partially cooked, i.e. boiled separately and drained it very “al dente” or drained after a few minutes of boiling. Since it will have two cooking – one separately and the other one in the oven with tomatoes – it is better in any case not to cook it too much or it will become sticky.

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