Thank you in advance for allowing me another tomato recipe this summer. It is indeed one of my favorite summer fruits (or vegetables, depending on how you view them). This week’s recipe, pomodori col riso (rice-stuffed tomatoes), is a staple of the Roman ‘fast food’ scene. By fast food, I mean the roast chicken and potatoes, fried snacks, sometimes a few types of simple varieties of pizza that you can buy at rotisseries and sometimes pizza by the slice places that dot the city. You will see these almost always served with potatoes, which for me is the best part. I could even skip the tomatoes and rice. Below is a basic recipe, don’t worry too much about proportions. It is best served at room temperature. I used brown rice in these, but you should feel free to use any type of rice, or grain, and any herbs/additional filling you like. -Kristina
Kristina Gill (that’s me!) is the editor of the In the Kitchen With and Behind the Bar columns here on DesignSponge. I currently live in Rome, Italy with my dog, Zizou, and my sidekick and official taste-tester, best known these days as “Pix”. To hear more about my sordid past and present, have a listen here, or skip all that and just follow me on Twitter, Instagram, or My Days on Film, my online collection of medium format film images shot during weekends and on travel.
See how to make pomodori col riso after the jump.
Pomodori col Riso
Serves 2 or 3
** Please note that depending on the type of rice you use, cooking time will vary and you may need to add liquid to the rice during cooking if it dries out too much before it is cooked. Alternatively, you can use parboiled rice, or precook the rice some to give it a head start, or you can soak the rice for an hour or so prior. In any case, getting the rice to cook is the tricky part of this dish.
- 6 small to medium-sized tomatoes
- 180g (5.5 ounces) rice
- 2 cloves of garlic minced
- 2 tablespoons of basil, chopped
- 5 small potatoes (size of an egg)
- olive oil
- Preheat oven to 350F/180CWash and dry the tomatoes. In a casserole dish or shallow baking pan that will allow the food to fit in snugly, brush a teaspoon of olive oil over the bottom (or cover with baking paper). With a sharp knife, cut the tops off and set aside. You will use them to cover the tomatoes before placing in the oven.
- Over and bowl with a melon-baller, grapefruit spoon, or small knife and spoon, carefully remove the insides of the tomato. Be careful to not make a hole in the tomato.
- Remove any parts of the core which may remain hard. Strain the juice and pulp through a strainer to remove seeds (or if you’re lazy, leave them in). Tip in the rice, and add the garlic and basil. Salt to taste, and add a teaspoon of olive oil. Mix well, and allow this to sit for a bit. How soft the rice gets before going into the oven will ultimately influence the cooking time.
- Peel and cut the potatoes into small pieces, about the size of dice.
- Fill each tomato until about 3/4 full. Do not overfill or your tomatoes will split open when the rice expands!
- Place each tomato in the casserole, and fill in all the holes with the potatoes. Drizzle olive oil over everything.
- Bake in an oven for approximately one hour. Have a peek every now and then to see how the rice is cooking, starting at the 45 minute mark. You may need to bake them longer.
- Serve at room temperature.
Why I love this recipe
I love Roman “fast food”, pizza by the slice and supplì being at the top of my list. If I don’t eat pizza, though, I will always always always opt for the pomodori col riso at the fast food. I like tricking myself into thinking I’m making the healthy choice, even though I focus quite intently on the potatoes! Making these at home is my favorite DIY ‘gourmet’ fast food.