I saw this recipe online, and actually made it on the same night as another of my favourite bloggers made her version of the same recipe – great minds and all that.
I like tomatoes, but not as much as my husband. Unfortunately, I was spoiled by an over-use of acidic tinned tomatoes in the 90s, and that somewhere ruined my like for the fruit. And I’ll also point out that the tomatoes we can get where I live tend to be watery and tasteless for most of the year. If I can find a recipe that brings out the natural sweetness of them, without having to add too much sugar, then I’m all in.
I will now add a disclaimer, that though I used to ALWAYS read a recipe over before starting, on this occasion I did my becoming-more-usual thing of skim-reading and missing the important parts…. nice work, Erin. So there were a couple of mistakes, but I think I managed to improvise adequately!
So, first off, I took 4 large vine tomatoes, and cut the tops off. I then scooped out the flesh, making sure not to pierce the bottoms or break the sides.
I salted the cavities, and turned them upside down on a plate to drain.
My first mistake was to throw out the tomato tops, because I was meant to keep them to pop onto the tomatoes later. But I didn’t – doh!
The flesh went into my blend-active bottle, to be lightly blitzed into a pulpy liquid.
My second mistake was to miss the part of the recipe where I needed a frying pan with a lid. I don’t own one of these, but I could have used a saucepan, and I didn’t. So, you’ll need a frying pan with a lid for the next part…..
I added some olive oil to the pan, and once heated added 1 tbsp of chopped onion, 1/2 crushed garlic clove and some chilli flakes and cooked them for a couple of minutes.
Then I added 6 tbsp of arborio rice and cooked it together for about 3 minutes until the rice had started to toast.
Then I added the blitzed tomato pulp, brought it to a simmer and reduced the heat to medium-low. I seasoned this with a little salt and a tsp of dried Italian seasoning.
I mixed this together, and then covered with an improvised lid – some kitchen roll. This wasn’t greatly effective and it absorbed come of the steam, so later on in the cooking process I needed to add a little boiled water, to help the rice along. This simmered for 10-15 minutes (until the rice was par cooked). I tasted this towards the end, and added some sugar, pepper and salt, to taste.
During this cooking time, I prepared some red potatoes by chopping them into cubes and coating with seasoning and a little oil.
The rice was ready, so I popped the mixture into the tomato shells, which were filled 7/8 of the way. At this stage you can either pop the tops back on, or some breadcrumbs. I had neither (doh!) so I just went with them the way they were.
They stood up in a prepared (oiled) baking dish, in amongst the potatoes which helped to keep the tomatoes upright.
These baked in the oven at 180C (fan) for 30 minutes. I jostled the potatoes about a little on a couple of occasions to stop them from sticking too much.
And once they were done, they looked like this:
The rice had started to brown and crisp up on top, and the tomatoes were soft and beginning to burst a little at the tops.
So, what was the verdict?
The rice was cooked just right, and the top part of the rice was slightly crunchy which I really enjoyed. The seasoning was spot on and the tomato shells were perfectly cooked.
The potatoes were a great accompaniment. I’m a ketchup fan, so a little ketchup to dip both elements into, brought the whole dish together.
This was a fairly simple and very tasty dish. I’d like to try this again, and perfect those two elements I messed up, so I can see what difference it makes.
I give this recipe 7.5/10