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Tomatoes Stuffed with Green Rice

Tomatoes Stuffed with Green Rice
During the summer months, ripe red tomatoes bursting with a rice stuffing are a staple antipasto of Roman trattorie. They can also be served as a first course.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup medium-grain white rice such as arborio
  • Salt, to taste
  • 4 large tomatoes
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil, plus whole leaves for garnish
  • 2 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 Tbs. grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1 small garlic clove, finely chopped
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Directions:

Bring a saucepan filled with water to a boil. Add the rice and salt and simmer until the rice is about half cooked, 9 to 10 minutes. Drain, place in a large bowl and set aside.

Preheat an oven to 350°F. Oil a baking dish just large enough to hold the tomatoes snugly.

Cut off a slice 1/2 inch thick from the top of each tomato and reserve. Using a small spoon, scoop out the tomato seeds and juice and place in a sieve set over a bowl. Arrange the tomatoes in the prepared baking dish.

Add to the rice the strained tomato juice, the olive oil, chopped basil, parsley, cheese, garlic, salt and pepper and mix well. Spoon the rice mixture into the hollowed-out tomatoes, dividing evenly. Cover each tomato with its top.

Bake until the rice is tender, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve hot or at room temperature, garnished with the whole basil leaves.
Serves 4.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Savoring Series, Savoring Italy, by Michele Scicolone (Time-Life Books, 1999).