These Baked & Stuffed Tomatoes are in invitation to embrace the changing of the seasons, and implement some slow and simple cooking into your afternoons. If possible, it is recommended to use organic tomatoes for this dish as the flavours will naturally shine through. As always, feel free to invite some play into your cooking and add additional ingredients you feel may be beneficial - mozzarella, mushrooms, peppers and various spices may be a good place to start!
*Keep in mind that while the creation of this dish is very simple, the overall prep and cook time spans over a couple of hours.. so you'll need to be prepared ahead of time to get this one ready in time for dinner.
8 Medium Tomatoes - Organic if Possible
1/2 Cup Arborio Rice or Orzo
4-6 Cloves Garlic - Crushed or Finely Diced
Small Handful of Fresh Basil Leaves (Approx 10) - Chopped Roughly
4 Tbsp Nice Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper
Side of Homemade Fries
3-4 Large Potatoes - Washed with Skin On
Salt & Pepper
*Garlic Powder Optional
Side of Rocket Salad
Packet of Fresh Rocket
Parmesan - Grated Finely
Nice Olive Oil
Serves 4 - Cut entire list of ingredients in half to serve two
Gently wash each tomato before slicing the top off and setting aside to use later. Using a small spoon, scoop all insides out of the tomato and place in a large bowl, including all pulp/seeds etc. Once the tomatoes have been cleared out, lightly sprinkle with salt and leave on a clean surface/paper towel/tea towel upside down to slightly dry out any excess liquid.
Using your hands, squish together the remaining tomato bits from your bowl (use a knife if needed to break down any bigger cores and discard any bits that will not break down). You will want to ensure there are no large pieces remaining in your mixture. At this point, mix through the rice/orzo, olive oil, garlic, basil, a good shake of pepper and around 2tsps of salt. The mixture should taste just slightly too salty, as this will later be soaked up by the tomatoes and rice. Leave to soak for around 1 hour (minimum).
Preheat the oven to 190 Degrees Celsius. If adding the side of potatoes, chop roughly into thick cut chips and coat with olive oil before tossing with salt and pepper and placing at the bottom of the baking dish. Then move onto stuffing your tomatoes, checking the seasoning of the mixture first and adjusting additional salt/pepper if needed (be careful not to under season this dish as it is beautifully simple in flavour). Scoop the filling into the tomatoes and place gently on top of your fries in the baking dish. You may now also return the lid of each tomato, and slide the dish into the oven. If you have remaining mixture you can definitely add it to the baking dish over the potatoes, however it is best to avoid this if there is too much rice remaining as these pieces will get particularly hard and crunchy in the baking process.
Bake this dish for at least an hour (depending on the size of your tomatoes), until they are visibly soft and wrinkled on top with some slight browning . At this point, turn the oven off and leave the dish to soak and cool for a remaining 20 minutes. To serve, dish each plate two tomatoes with some fries. If adding a side salad, simply place all greens in a large bowl to coat with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. You may then sprinkle a decent amount of parmesan on top and toss to combine before sharing to each plate.
Let us know what you think!
Love, Fig Tree Lane