How to make rice stuffed tomatoes

If you are in Rome around July, you’d see a lot of these types of tomatoes being sold.

These are called pomodoro da riso and they are really big compared to the regular tomatoes that you usually use. The skin is firm, making them specially for stuffing rice. So today, I’ll show you how to make Pomodori Ripieni al Riso – which literally means, tomatoes filled up with rice.

You could use regular tomatoes too, but be sure that the tomatoes are big and firm – so that it doesn’t collapse under the oven.

First cut off the top and leave them to one side. Then take a spoon and dig a out the pulp inside. Be careful not to break any part of the skin – it’s a little tricky when it comes to the bottom part.

When you are done, it should look like this. Try to scrape and remove as much seeds away.

(If you were wondering, yes that is a computer. I like watching videos while doing chores :p )

Lightly salt the caps and the insides of the tomato and lay them upside down – this will remove the liquid from the tomato.

This is the troublesome part – trying to remove as much seeds as possible from the pulp. I normally use two bowls for these (one for the pulp and the other for the cleaned pulp) and painstakingly scrape off the seeds with a dining knife.

It’s time consuming and annoying. You could of course leave some, but too much seeds can make your tomatoes taste bitter.

And here is the cleaned pulp. Yes. This picture is necessary because of the amount of time I took for achieving this. Nowadays, I give Cart a black face whenever he wants to buy pomodoro da riso from the market :p

But the tough part is done!

If you like, you can sieve the seeds, and rub a spoon over it for the juice to filtrate out, since that’s where most of the liquid is trapped. No need to be overzealous though.

Now with the juice and the cleaned pulp, pulverize them together with some salt and garlic – about a garlic for two tomatoes. Some people might not like too much garlic, so you could just limit to one clove for your entire batch. But I like mine garlic-y.

No kisses for a while I guess :p

When you are done, you should have an aromatic pink liquid that looks like this :

Now separate the liquid into two containers. As one part will be used for the rice and another part for the potatoes. For each tomato that you have, add about a teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil in the larger container.

Next we use some rice. I’m using Riso Roma here, but you could also use arborio or carnaroli. Or any rice that is of the short and fluffy type.

Depending on the size of your tomatoes, you use about 30 – 50g of rice for each tomato. It should be enough to almost fill the tomatoes completely. Let it rest in a cool place for at least 3 hours.

After which, you could leisurely peel and cut some potatoes. I used 3 medium sized potatoes in the pan below. But if you like more, feel free to add more of course :p

Salt it generously and add enough olive oil to coat them.

After 3 hours have passed, the rice would have expanded after absorbing the tomato juice.

Now pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees.

And spoon the rice and juice mixture into the tomatoes. When it is half full, you can tear one fresh basil leaf into small pieces and drop it in each tomato. By the way for those in Singapore, I don’t know if Thai Basil makes a good substitute. I found some in Giant. But if you can’t find fresh basil, dried ones will work too.

Another variation is to use mentuccia – these are the ones we have growing in the kitchen. The purple flowers are so pretty! When cooked, it gives a sharp taste with tones of mint and oregano.

Once the tomatoes are filled up, tear up some more leaves and place them on top.

And cover them with their respective caps. Remember the reserve tomato juice in the other container? This remaining tomato juice is to be poured on the potatoes – giving it a savoury taste.

Cook in the oven for about 40 minutes or till the potatoes are cooked. The last 10 minutes, you might want to put them on grill function to crisp up the potatoes. And it will look like this!

So delicious! A yummy and hearty meal 🙂

By the way, these are great be it eaten cold or warm – making it great for picnics or preparing it in advance if you have guests coming over. No need to use too much plates for these are they come in their own natural packaging that you eat!