Somehow, eating tomatoes all throughout September felt just right this year. We have been enjoying the best autumn weather I could have ever hoped for, possibly the best I can remember since we left Bra. Sunny, clear, dry, and just perfect for tomatoes. I think we’ll be ignoring the brassicas and squashes for as long as we can.
We have been making rice-stuffed tomatoes quite a lot, with small variations. The idea sparked from a beautiful post from Rachel. It lured us to make them, and we then continued on a pattern that saw them happening in our kitchen at least once a weak.
I see this as a perfect dish to bridge the seasons. It has, inevitably, the flavour and reminiscence of summer. Yet, the stuffing and baking have an autumnal character and are a welcome activity on these early October days, when memories of summer adventures are still fresh in our mind.
Pomodori al Riso
This recipe has been cooked with Rachel’s in mind. I report hers faithfully here (doses are halved to serve our small household). All you need to know, before you start, is that all this recipe needs is a bit of foresight. Still, it’s well worth the wait.
500 g waxy potatoes
Cut the tops off the tomatoes and set them aside. One by one, hold the tomatoes over a bowl and using a teaspoon, scoop out their insides – flesh, seeds, and juice – and let it all fall into the bowl. Sprinkle a little salt in the cavity of each tomato and then place them cut side down on a clean tea towel so any excess water can drain away.
Pass the tomato flesh, seeds and juice through a food mill or blast it briefly with an immersion blender. Peel and very finely chop the garlic and add it to the tomato. Rip the basil leaves into small pieces and add them to the tomato. Add the rice and olive oil to the tomato. Season the mixture very generously with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Peel and chop the potatoes into 1″ dice. Put the potatoes in a bowl, pour over a little olive oil and sprinkle over a little salt and then using your hands toss the potatoes so they are well coated with oil.
Sit your empty tomatoes in a lightly greased oven proof dish. Spoon the rice mixture into the shells so they are 3/4 full. and then put the lids back on the tomatoes. Scatter the diced potato around the tomatoes. Slide the tray into the oven and bake for about 45 minutes or until the tomatoes are soft and just starting to shrivel and the rice is plump and tender and the potatoes are soft and golden.
Allow the tomatoes to sit for at least an hour before eating.