Orzo Stuffed Tomatoes with Herbs and Mozrella

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I love a toasted tomato sandwich as much as anyone. (Butter, mayo, salt pepper, tomatoes – nothing else! The subject of much debate amongng friends, but we won’t get into that)

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There’s only so many sandwiches you can eat in one tomato season. What if you want to eat them for dinner, but have a steak? You can’t have a all that food! Well, I can’t – in fact I know plenty of people that can eat two meals in one. Moving on… there are so many yummy things you can do with tomatoes and this is my new favourite.

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It’s really too bad it’s taken me so long to get around to talking about it too, I’ve already made them twice in the last month. Let me walk you through it. Sweet and tender tomatoes, over-stuffed with herby and chewy orzo, all bursting with molten cheese pockets. Mmmmmmmm the perfect bite. This may not be a crucial element to most, but when a dish tastes better all mashed up together, that’s a success in my eyes.

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Orzo Stuffed Tomatoes with Herbs and Mozrella
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Serves 4 – 6

  • 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Coarse or Kosher salt
  • 4-6 medium-to-large tomatoes
  • Red pepper flakes, to taste
  • 1/4 medium or 1/2 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 9 tablespoons arborio or another short-grained starchy rice
  • Few tablespoons chopped parsley, oregano or slivered basil (or mix thereof)
  • 8 oz diced mozarella

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat an ovenproof baking dish with olive oil.

2. Prepare tomatoes: Cut the tops off the tomatoes and scoop out tomato juices, seeds and flesh into a non-reactive (i.e. just about anything but aluminum) bowl. Salt the cavities of the tomatoes and turn them upside down on a plate to drain.

3. Prepare reserve: Run scooped-out tomato flesh and juices through a food mill or pulse in a blender until coarsely pureed. Heat a large skillet over medium heat, then add 2 tablespoons olive oil, heating it too.

4. Once hot, add onion, garlic and red pepper flakes, cooking them together for 2 minutes, or until onion begins to soften. Add rice and cook them together for about 3 minutes, or until rice toasts a little.

5. Add tomato puree and bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to medium-low. Season with 3/4 teaspoon salt, then cover skillet with a lid, and let simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until rice is par-cooked. Adjust seasoning if needed.

6. Reassemble tomatoes: Stir fresh herbs and mozzarella into tomato-rice mixture. Arrange tomatoes right-side-up in baking pan then spoon mixture into tomatoes, filling them just 7/8 of the way to leave room for the rice to finish expanding.

8. Bake: Uncovered for 30 minutes, until tomato walls are soft and the rice inside has finished cooking. Serve hot.

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