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Recipe for Italian rice stuffed tomatoes


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Here's another version, from Il Cucchaio d'Argento (my quick n' dirty translation):

6 large tomatoes

6 T rice

oregano, basil, parsley (chopped)

oil, salt, pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Wash and dry the tomatoes, cut off their tops.  Using a spoon, remove the seeds.  Remove the pulp and pass it through a food mill, collecting it in a bowl.

Boil the rice for 5 minutes in salted water and mix it with the tomato pulp.

Add to the mixture the parsley and oregano, four tablespoons of oil, oregano, salt and pepper.  Mix them well and and fill the tomatoes; cover them with the tops.

Arrange the tomatoes in an oiled baking dish and sprinkle them with a little olive oil.  Bake for around 30 minutes.  Serve hot or cold.

I'm a little surprised that the recipe calls for boiling the rice for only five minutes before baking. I'd worry that it would be insufficiently cooked. But if it works, it wouldn't be as overcooked and gloppy as most pomodori al riso filling; a good thing.

Both of these recipes also ignore the key detail of the potatoes that are cooked along with the tomoatoes. I'd chop a few potatoes, parboil them, dry and oil them, and add them to the baking pan.

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Where did you eat your stuffed tomatoes and do you remember any distinct flavors? Any specific cities or regions especially memorable?

You can stuff them with anything you want, using either rice or breadcrumbs as the grain/cereal element. Different regions have different key ingredients and the numbers tend to be minimal. However, I'd imagine home cooks, especially, improvise.

For example, in Sicily, you'll find breadcrumbs, onions, anchovies, parsley, capers, golden raisins and a touch of nutmeg with olive oil, salt and pepper. That's it. No egg binder.

Then there's rice, ground beef, onion, fresh mint, olive oil, S & P, or

Onion, tiny shrimp, chopped green olives, celery, parsley & bottarga (salted roe). No rice or crumbs.

Down south in Apulia, eggs bind the scooped out tomato pulp to fresh breadcrumbs that are soaked first with milk. Here there's the grated cheese that was absent in the three Sicilian examples, parsley, garlic, S & P, and drizzled olive oil on top, but otherwise, nothing else to detract from the flavor of the tomato.

I imagine the quality of the tomatoes evokes more nostalgia than anything else.

Edited by Pontormo (log)

"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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there are also two kinds of rice stuffings--those that are cooked before being added to the tomatoes and those that are cooked in the tomatoes. the latter, obviously, are trickier and require getting the right mix of liquid and rice. but the flavor is really good--the rice picks up a lot of tomato.

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Where did you eat your stuffed tomatoes and do you remember any distinct flavors?  Any specific cities or regions especially memorable?

Pontormo, that's a really good point. Funny how when I heard about rice-stuffed tomatoes I immediately thought of the ones I'd get from the neighborhood tavola calda in Rome. That's nostalgia for you, I guess...

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