A rice-stuffed tomato makes a pretty side dish to steaks and chops. Basil is the perfect herb to match with tomatoes. Mixing it with Arborio rice (used to make risotto) in this recipe makes it all the more special.
6 large tomatoes
1/2 cup finely packed basil leaves
1/4 cup olive oil
half an onion, chopped
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup Arborio rice
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 pimiento, chopped
1 tablespoon pine nuts
1 2/3 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese plus more for topping
salt and pepper to taste
1 Core tomatoes, and scoop out seeds and inner flesh. Set tomatoes aside.
2 Chop basil leaves as finely as possible and pound in a mortar and pestle with half of the olive oil to form a smooth paste.
3 Sauté onions in remaining olive oil. Add chopped tomatoes and cook until wilted. Add Arborio rice and sauté in the oil. Add the tomato paste, pimiento, and pine nuts.
4 Pour 1 cup chicken stock. Let rice cook until it absorbs the liquid. When mixture is almost dry, add remaining water and cook until liquid is absorbed and mixture is thick and slightly creamy. Add basil mixture and Parmesan cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and let cool. (Transfer mixture to a flat tray to cool rice faster.)
5 Arrange 6 hollow tomatoes on a greased baking sheet and brush the sides of the tomato with olive oil. (Slice off a thin part at the bottom to create a steady base.) Stuff each tomato with the rice mixture. Place in a preheated 375ºF oven and bake for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove tray from oven and top each tomato with Parmesan cheese. Bake for 5 minutes more.
Photography by David Hanson | Food Styling by Sharlene Tan
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