Prep Time:35 minutes |
Cook Time:60 minutes
In Rome, these pomodori al riso are served as an antipasto in summer, but they’re enough for a lunch main dish with bread, salad and cheese here. Look for heirloom tomatoes that are firm-ripe; use Yukon golds for the creamiest potatoes. Make sure to choose a baking pan that will hold the vegetables snugly; a 13×9-inch pan works well. Or cut the recipe in half and bake 6 tomatoes in a deep-dish pie plate. Serve at room temperature.
extra-virgin olive oil
2 lbs medium Yukon gold or white potatoes
12 ripe tomatoes (each about the size of your fist)
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves
1 cup fresh basil leaves, plus sprigs for garnish
1 tablespoon fresh oregano or thyme leaves
1-1/2 cups raw long-grain white or Arborio rice
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
Preheat an oven to 400°. Rub the bottom and sides of a baking dish just large enough to hold the tomatoes with olive oil. Drop the potatoes into a pot of boiling salted water and boil until just barely cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes (test with a knife). Drain potatoes and set aside.
Meanwhile, cut a slice off the top of each tomato to create a “lid” — it should be about 1/4-inch thick; leave the stem attached if there is one. Over a large bowl, scoop out the insides of each tomato with a grapefruit knife or other small serrated knife, hollowing it so there is a wall about 1/4-inch thick. Put tomato pulp in a food processor or blender with the garlic, parsley, basil leaves, oregano or thyme, and 1 teaspoon of salt. Pulse until pureed, then pour the mixture back into the bowl. Stir in the rice. Pour in 1/4 cup olive oil and stir the mixture well. Slice the cooled potatoes about 1/4-inch thick.
Arrange a layer of sliced potatoes on the bottom of the oiled baking dish without overlapping. Set the hollowed-out tomatoes on top of the potatoes, then spoon the rice mixture into each tomato (if you have extra filling, see below). Put each lid on top of its tomato. Snuggle remaining slices of potato between the tomatoes and around the edges of the dish; you want the whole thing to be tightly packed. Sprinkle the chopped rosemary over the tomatoes and potatoes, sprinkle with salt to taste then drizzle everything well with more olive oil.
Cover the dish with foil and bake for 35 minutes then uncover the dish and continue to bake until potatoes are golden brown, rice is tender (dip a fork in to taste), and tomatoes are roasted, about 25 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand until room temperature; or chill overnight and serve the next day. Garnish with basil sprigs, if desired.
note: if you have extra rice filling, put it in an oiled ramekin or baking dish just large enough to hold it, cover with foil, and bake alongside the tomatoes. It should be done after about half hour; taste to see if rice is tender.