Author Notes: A full & flavourful stuffing. Thick saucy stuffed tomatoes. Rich tomato flavour which the arborio rice stuffing soaks up like a sponge. Feeds lots of people. Easier than it looks. Can make it in any oven - I made the above in a rickety outdoor gas oven! —[email protected]
Serves: 4 (it's easy to double)
juicy ripe tomatoes
very large onion
finely chopped small onion
chopped yellow pepper
chopped garlic cloves
chopped flat leaf parsley
crushed red pepper flakes
- Using a sharp knife, cut the tops of the tomatoes off, keeping their hats to the side. Scoop out the inside of the tomatoes with a sharp spoon, making sure not to pierce the skin. Put the pulp into a bowl and grate it so it becomes less chunky, or put the pulp in a blender and pulse it to a thick juice.
- Add the passata, red pepper flakes, and sugar to the thick juice. Also add salt and pepper to taste.
- Peel off the brown skin of the very large onion. Cut a small lengthwise (from top to bottom) wedge out of the onion. Boil some water in a pot on the stove, and place the onion inside until it becomes soft. Once it becomes soft, turn off the heat and let it sit inside the water until you are ready to use it.
- Preheat the oven to 170C. Heat 5tbs of olive oil in a pan and saute the onions, garlic, pine nuts and yellow pepper until the onions are softened but not burnt. Once the onions are softened, add about 3 cups of the tomato mixture. Bring to the boil and then stir in the rice. If necessary, add about 1/2 cup of the water from the pot with the onion in it, to prevent the mixture sticking. You may need to add less or more water depending on the juiciness of the tomatoes. Cook for about 10 to 12 minutes, until the rice starts absorbing the liquid. Remove from the heat and stir in the parsley.
- Sprinkle the inside of the tomatoes with a little salt. Fill each tomato about 2/3 full with the rice mixture and put the hats on. Carefully peel a layer from the onion and fill about 2/3 full with the rice mixture. Arrange the tomatoes and onions in a large ovenproof dish – about 20 to 30cm in diameter. You may have to place the onions on their side as the filling can easily come out.
- Drizzle the remaining olive oil on top of the tomatoes and onions. Sprinkle a little salt on the same. You may also wish to sprinkle a little sugar on top of the tomatoes. Dot the butter on the tomatoes and onions. Pour about 1 cup of water from the pot with the onion in it gently around the stuffed vegetables.
- Bake for about 1.5 hours, basting the stuffed vegetables 3 or 4 times. You may need to add a little more water if the sauce becomes too dry, but this will depend on your tomatoes and their juiciness. When the stuffed vegetables are ready, there should be some thickened sauce on the bottom and the stuffed vegetables should be soft, but not burnt or falling apart. Serve with yoghurt or feta cheese.