Thursday 3 December 2015

Pomodori al riso aka Tomatoes stuffed with rice from Five Quarters: Recipes and Notes from a Kitchen in Rome

I've become lazy and blank on this space.

We all have those days where everything you make/eat tastes meh...well I do. So my reason for silence and blank-ness is that everything I make lately is meh and there are thousands of food blogs out there with flashier photo's and a much broader recipe base, not just about what I made (& ate) for dinner which lately has been meh for you to read and drool over. Saying I feel lost in cyber space is an understatement.

Brain fart, sorry.

The last tasty thing I made was a couple weeks months ago now and I still can't stop thinking about it. Pomodori al riso aka Tomatoes stuffed with rice from 'Five Quarters: Recipes and Notes from a Kitchen in Rome' by Rachel Roddy who writes the blog Rachel Eats. I have a thing for stuffed vegetables... stuffed anything really. If you can fill it and bake it, why not!? isn't everything better when its stuffed and baked?

You don't see recipes that double carb it much these days with all the 'super foods' and 'clean eating' shenanigans around but it was nice to read a recipe that was just honest home cooked food. Nothing there to convince me what health benefits it would have on me other than to fill an empty tummy and serve to friends with a nice side salad and a good bottle of wine.  I mean the first ingredient is 8 firm, fruity, fleshy and flavoursome tomatoes... how can you not want to make this instantly??

With a little bit of prep and planning, once it is all assembled and ready to go in the oven you can forget about for 1-1 1/4 hours and then once the timer goes off you have another 30 minutes to fix your hair (also so the tomatoes, which are pyroclastic-ly hot don't burn the roof of your mouth) before you serve a dinner that looks impressive and isn't shy on flavour. The recipe says you can leave them until they are at room temperature as it allows the flavours to settle and get better but I'll be completely honest with you, I only left mine long enough so I didn't singe my mouth off because as always... hunger wins! Next time I'll wait though, all the little grains of rice soak up the olive oil and tomato juice and have time to mingle with the basil. I had leftovers for lunch the next day and it was perfect! I love how this meal is honest home cooking that doesn't skimp of taste. No flashy ingredients or techniques, just a damn delicious dinner. I make again and again over summer, just have to wait for the big juicy tomatoes to come into season... bring on summer!

Tomatoes stuffed with rice | salt sugar and i

Pomodori al riso aka Tomatoes stuffed with rice

from Five Quarters: Recipes and Notes from a Kitchen in Rome by Rachel Roddy
(recipe adapted ever so slightly to avoid the washing up of extra bowls)

8 firm, fruity, fleshy and flavoursome tomatoes
2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
8 basil leaves, torn
10 tablespoons risotto rise (I used Arborio)
100ml extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for the potatoes
1kg potatoes
salt and freshly ground pepper

- Preheat your oven to 180C/400F.

- Cut the tops of the tomatoes, keeping the little lids aside and one by one hold each tomato over a bowl and, using a teaspoon, scoop out their insides - flesh, seeds and juice - into the bowl. Sprinkle a little salt in the inside of each tomato then turn cut side down onto paper towels, set aside.

- Process the tomato flesh, seeds and juice in a food processor or blitz with a hand blender. Add the garlic, basil leaves, rice and olive oil to the pulverised tomato flesh, season generously with salt and pepper. Stir everything together well and then let sit for at least 45 minutes so the rice soaks up all the juices.

- Meanwhile, cut the potatoes into 1cm thick, 3cm long matchsticks. Place them in large baking dish, pour over a little love oil, sprinkle with salt and using your hand toss the potatoes until they are well coated. Spread them out evenly on your baking dish and place the hollowed out tomatoes in amongst them.

- Spoon your rice mixture into the hollow tomatoes until they are 3/4 full then place the lids on top. Slide the tray into your pre-heated oven and bake for 1-1 1/4 hours, or until the tomatoes are soft and just starting to shrivel, the rice is plump and tender and the potatoes are soft and golden. Allow them to sit for about half an hour before eating.

Warning - the tomatoes are blistering hot when they come out of the oven (no joke!) so I advise you don't skip the last step and let them sit and cool down slightly before digging in.

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