Sunday, August 28, 2011

Lori’s Stuffed Italian Tomatoes - Pomodori Repieni al Forno

Lori’s recipe is a favorite of mine. When summer came and the tomatoes were at the peak season of their season, these little beauties were quickly consumed no matter how may were made.
1 Cup uncooked long grain white rice
6 Tablespoons of non-filtered extra virgin olive oil.
8 Large vine ripen tomatoes (Early Girl is a great variety)
1 Teaspoon ground black pepper and some salt
6 Large cloves of very finely chopped Italian red garlic
1 Large bunch of Italian parsley chopped fine

Cut the “lid” off the tomatoes and retain. Being careful not to pierce wall of tomato, hollow out tomato cores with a spoon and retain pulp. (I use a small sharp knife tip run around the inside edge of the tomato, followed by an X-shape cut through the core not deep enough to pierce the bottom of the tomato, the fol­low up with a spoon.) Reserve the tomato pulp. Add tomato pulp, pepper, garlic, rice, and salt all together. Squeeze tomato pulp through your hands to break it up. Stuff tomatoes with mixture but make them flat on top. Cover each tomato with its own tomato lid and place in a shallow glass-baking dish. Drizzle tomatoes with oil.

Cook very slowly for 4 hours on 325 F. Baste the liquid that runs in the pan back over each tomato, starting at 30 minutes and every 30 minutes there after. After three hours, test rice with a fork, if still too hard, add a few teaspoons of water to each tomato top. When cooked, and cooled, transfer to a serving platter. Drizzle with your best tasting olive oil. Serve lukewarm. Garnish platter with a few large springs of parsley.

1.  For this recipe, the rice will be slightly crunchy in spots as not 100% of it completely cooks by this method. I think it is part of why I like these so much. As an alternative, in the first 15 minutes of cooking, the stuffed tomatoes are covered with tin foil, the rice gets cook completely but the tomatoes and the rice both seem overcooked and often the tomato may split. It is only through very slow cooking that produces an intense tomato flavor and gets so sweet.

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