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in the kitchen with: kristina’s pomodori col riso

by Kristina Gill


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


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Peel and cut the potatoes into small pieces, about the size of dice.
  5. Fill each tomato until about 3/4 full.  Do not overfill or your tomatoes will split open when the rice expands!
  6. Place each tomato in the casserole, and fill in all the holes with the potatoes.  Drizzle olive oil over everything.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.


Suggested For You


  • Yummm! Very similiar to the Greek stuffed vegetables dish called Gemista. You can use tomatoes, aubergines, courgettes, and peppers. One of my most favourite.

  • It’ best if you add tiny diced zucchini, aubergine and onion for sweetness to the rice stuffing.( it’s also a staple dish in Greece- where some people also add sultanas) trust me you wouldn’t look at the potatoes twice….

  • YUM looks amazing! I couldn’t figure out if you’re meant to par-cook the rice first?

  • i don’t get that last picture. i’m guessing that the selfie in a salon wasn’t intentional.

  • @kirstin – thanks!
    @alana – you could pre-boil, or let the rice soak some in the tomato juice for a bit, or use parboiled rice, or opt to cook them longer. The baking time is so long because of the time it takes the rice to cool through, which is often where the recipe can go wrong! I’ll update the recipe to reflect these options.
    @karen – yes it was intentional! I had already used many different pictures of me so opted for this one of me right after I visited the beauty parlor! I’ll work on getting a new pic taken for next time!!
    @abea – sure! To start out, we have a great recipe by Sabra Crock in our archives for maple sour cream walnut muffins (<– click there)

  • thank you for the inspiration! i made a mexican version of this recipe that i made up after seeing this post. i realized i had cilantro and fresh corn in the house so i left out the basil and otherwise made this as written. it turned out spectacular! i highly recommend !! i served it with homemade refried pintos and a simple cucumber onion salad. next i want to try making it the Roman way! YUMMM

  • I made this last night and it was so delicious! One of my new favorite dishes, paired it with some broiled haddock. I thought I had messed it up because the rice was still hard after 45 minutes of cooking, but I cranked up the oven to 400 and gave it another 20 minutes. Came out perfect. Thank you!

  • Omigosh, I wish I had precooked the rice! I soaked for an hour and we’re almost an hour and a half into cook time but the rice is still little crunchy. On the plus side, even my crunchy texture tests are DELICIOUS.

  • I made this and it was phenominal. Everything went so well together. I only used 4 tomatoes and had the ensemble for 4 meals. Thank you for such a great recipe.

  • @debby – sorry to hear that. It is a bit of a dilemma with these. I think that you should probably add a little liquid if you’re having that problem, because maybe the rice doesn’t have anything to soak up!

  • I will fuss with the process next time. Might measure out what I get from the tomatoes against the amount of liquid my rice requires and make up the difference. But I had to come back because while the dinner was great, once it cooked, the leftovers this afternoon were…oh, my gosh, they were fantastic! Sublime! This dish is a keeper!

  • I followed this recipe pretty much to the letter, I let the rice soak for an hour and I’ve had it in the oven for about and hour and a half now and the rice is still uncooked. I’ve added extra stock twice now because my pan is dry, and my tomatoes and potatoes are basically mush while the rice is still crunchy. What gives?

  • My grandma tought me how to prepare this dish and it’s definetely one of my favourites.
    When I prepare the dish I choose ver ripe and juicy tomatoes and use the extra juice (after filling the tomatoes) to wet the potatoes too…so they are much tastier!
    Happy to see the recipe here! it’s a fantastic italian dish to try!
    Ciao ciao

  • Hi Scott!

    Im really sorry you’re having problems. Im not sure how to help– what type of rice are you using? Were the tomatoes particularly juicy and did you fill them 3/4 the way? I’ve had travesties with this recipe as well, when I was learning. You might try a parboiled rice or a rice that you’re sure will cook in a reasonably short amount of time. Some recipes Ive seen in Italian precook the rice too? Let me know if you try again if any of that works!


  • I have made this twice and it is so delicious. I had no trouble with the recipe and was surprised how well it turned out without precooking the rice. I also tried it with orzo: Just Scrumptious!