AKA baked, stuffed tomatoes with potatoes. A staple in Italian bakeries and apparently a traditional street food in Rome, but equally at home in Iowa with our luscious summer tomatoes, fresh basil, and various kinds of potatoes. This dish takes a bit of planning, but otherwise it’s pretty easy, and a ‘one dish’ meal!
I haven’t been to Italy but now that I am learning about all the food that is naturally meat-free/vegan, it’s suddenly nearing the top of my travel list. I credit Rachel Roddy’s recipe for educating me about this dish. The only specialty item, that is optional, is the Carnaroli rice. Many recipes use Arborio (risotto), which can generally be found at a grocery store. But, if you happen upon a gourmet store or feel like an Amazon order, the delicately plump texture of Carnaroli is worthwhile! Plus, you only use a little for this recipe, so a bag will last a long time. I use this brand (not an affiliate link).
Pomodoro al Riso
- 2 lbs of tomatoes–I used 4 large
- 2 large Italian garlic cloves minced
- 6 fresh basil leaves cut into small ribbons
- 6 Tablespoons rice Carnaroli rice is traditional but Risotto or any other white rice can be used (brown rice may not work in this recipe, haven’t tried)
- 6 Tablespoons olive oil divided + more for pan
- 1.5 pounds potatoes of your choice
- Salt + pepper
- First, cut the tops off the tomatoes, set aside. Using a metal spoon, scoop the insides of the tomatoes into a bowl. Seeds and all. Then, lightly salt the inside of the tomato ‘shells’ and place upside down on a plate to drain.
- Using your hands, mash the tomato insides until no large pieces remain. Remove any hard pieces of core. Add uncooked rice, chopped garlic, and basil ribbons. Also add 3 Tablespoons of the olive oil and a bit of salt + pepper. Let rice mixture sit for 45 minutes.
- In the meantime, peel the potatoes and cut into fries. Toss potatoes with remaining 3 Tablespoons of olive oil and some salt + pepper.
- Prepare for baking. Preheat the oven to 400F. Lightly oil a pan–sheet pan or 12 inch cast iron skillet work well. Use something metal, not glass. Place the tomatoes upright, and fill just about to the brim with spoonfuls of the rice mixture. You’ll probably have some of the rice mixture remaining. Place the tomato tops on the tomatoes as ‘lids’. Scatter the potato fries around the tomatoes.
- Bake for about 45-60 minutes. The rice should expand and might overflow the tomatoes a bit. The potatoes should start to have some golden and crisp spots. Test a potato for doneness. Remove from oven and let cool, at least 30 minutes. Then serve with extra salt + pepper.