Monday, December 6, 2010

Tiffany's Stuffed Tomatoes - A Recipe

This recipe has a little story behind it, however short. The first time I made it was last New Year's Eve. It is from my beloved cookbook, Classic Italian Cooking: Recipes for mastering the Italian kitchen by Valentina Harris. The actual recipe is called Pomodori al Forno Ripieni di Riso or Baked Stuffed Tomatoes with Rice. The recipe calls for long-grain rice, but it doesn't say cooked. You are supposed to cook the rice in the tomatoes, for 55 minutes in the oven.

Always test a recipe before you plan on serving it. Always.

On that New Year's Eve, my boiler was broken and being repaired, and I was trying to cook, while cleaning the house from top to bottom, as the kids (all three of them) had just had lice removed from their head that day. And did I mention that the day began with a snowstorm?

The rice didn't cook in the tomatoes. Not much, anyway. Not enough to eat it, though people did sample them out of sheer kindness. Still, I wasn't giving up on the recipe.

I learned a lot in a year, and have made this recipe a number of different ways, very successfully. It's super easy, tastes great, and is pretty healthy for you, too. Here's my recipe, which is much different from the one in the cookbook. I hope you try it out and let me know what you think.

Tiffany's Stuffed Tomatoes

  • 6 big, organic tomatoes (as big as possible), ripe but not soft
  • 2 cups of cooked rice (I used organic basmati, but you can use whatever you like)
  • handful of basil, torn into small bits
  • 2 oz. low-salt mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 c (or to taste) shredded parmesan cheese
  • garlic powder and pepper, to taste
  • Optional: 1/4 c sun-dried tomatoes

1. Cook the rice. While it's steaming, cut the tops off of the tomatoes and scoop out the middle. I use a plastic knife to loosen the middle, and a plastic spoon to scoop it out, so that if I slip, I don't damage the outer part of the tomato. Place the six tomato cups (that's how they should look, like cups) in a small baking dish that has been greased with extra-virgin olive oil, open side up.

2. Mix cooked rice with cheeses (reserve 1/8 c of parmesan for topping), and then fold in basil. If you are using sun-dried tomatoes, add them, too.

3. Scoop up the rice with very clean hands, and pack each of the four tomatoes with the rice mixture until fully stuffed. Top with remaining parmesan cheese, and drizzle with olive oil. (I have a great garlic infused olive oil that I use, and you can make that, too, if you like.)

4. Bake at 350* for 20 - 25 minutes, until tomato is cooked, but before rice begins to brown.

Makes six exceptional side dishes or appetizers.

Note: You can also add cooked ground beef to the rice, to add protein to your stuffed tomatoes.


  1. Love these!!! And they were still good on NYE - but better this past weekend

  2. Thanks Laura! You've seen the progression from the very first, poorly made batch.

    Will you share the risotto recipe from Saturday night? It was awesome, and I can eat a whole batch it if I use saltless chicken broth.

  3. I am making stuffed jalepenos tonight. The recipe will be up tonight. If they are good, I will make them for New Year's Eve.