rice-stuffed tomatoes with potatoes

Rice-stuffed tomatoes with potatoes | Pomodori ripieni al riso con patate

This recipe for rice-stuffed tomatoes was originally my Nonna Wanda’s recipe, with the addition of potatoes made by my Zia Emilia to make it more authentically Roman.

Here is a photo of the recipe as cooked by my Zia Emilia in Rome on my last visit, in May 2017:

rice-stuffed tomatoes with potatoes made by zia Emilia | pomodori ripieni di riso con le patate, fatti da zia Emilia

And here is my latest rendition of this delicious dish:

rice-stuffed tomatoes with potatoes

The quantities and timings etc in this recipe are, as many of the recipes passed down from generation to generation in our family, vague and open to interpretation / personal touch, but I’ve tried to be a bit more precise so you can follow it, too 🙂

Ingredients (for 3-6 people, depending on whether it is a starter, main course, or side dish): 

  • 6 large beef tomatoes
  • Arborio rice (approximately 2 small fistfuls per tomato)
  • Fresh flat-leaf parsley (a good handful)
  • Fresh basil (a good handful)
  • Half a medium onion
  • Freshly-grated parmesan cheese (a couple of handfuls)
  • Potatoes (5-6 medium sized ones) – watch this video for the best way to cut potatoes the Italian way
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt

Method

Here is the hand-written recipe written down by my Zia Emilia as dictated by her mum, my Nonna Wanda, when Zia Emilia was preparing to get married and leave home.  You can see the addition of the potatoes on page 2:

rice-stuffed tomatoes with potatoes - hand-written recipe pg1

rice-stuffed tomatoes with potatoes - hand-written recipe pg2

Start by cutting the potatoes.  Ideally, do these the Italian way (watch video) – this allows them to cook slightly unevenly, giving you lovely crispy edges and soft centres.

Tip: Cutting potatoes this way and roasting them with rosemary and olive oil is a delicious Italian way to do roast potatoes!

Place these into an oven dish and set aside for now.

Then cut the tops off the tomatoes (think little ‘hats’).  Slice two thin strips off the ‘discarded’ tomato tops and set aside (you’ll use these later for decoration, to top your stuffed tomatoes), and chop up the remaining ‘discarded’ tops into small pieces.  Add these small pieces to the potatoes.  Season the potatoes and tomato pieces with a generous sprinkling of sea salt, add a generous glug of olive oil, toss, and place in a pre-heated oven (fan-assisted 180­°C) for 25 minutes.

While the potatoes are cooking, prepare the rice: 

Place the rice in cold water, add a generous sprinkling of sea salt, and bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes or so (check this as not all rice cooks at the same rate – you want to make sure the rice is still a little bit uncooked at the end of this stage).

While the rice is cooking, finely chop the half onion and soften it in a pan with a generous amount of olive oil, over a low heat (let the onion soften slowly, making sure it does not go brown). Finely chop the parsley and basil, and add these to the onion just as the rice is nearly ready at the not quite cooked stage. Make sure you don’t fry the herbs for too long.

Drain the rice, leaving it quite wet, and saving the cooking water.  Add the rice to the pan with the olive oil, onion and herbs and stir, letting the rice continue to cook like a risotto.  You may need to add some of the cooking water to allow it to remain moist and cook until it is cooked, but still ‘al dente’. Make sure you don’t over-stir as this breaks up the rice grains.

Take it off the heat once it’s cooked and stir in about 2/3rds of the parmesan cheese.  Set aside.

Return to the tomatoes you previously removed the tops from. Carefully hollow these out with a spoon (the insides with the seeds are my favourite part of the tomato – I always used to eagerly await this stage when my Nonna made stuffed tomatoes, and still do when my Zia does them, so I could eat them, seasoned with a bit of salt).

Lightly season the insides of the hollow tomatoes with a sprinkling of sea salt.

Once the potatoes have had about 25 minutes in the oven, take the oven dish out and give them a bit of a stir. Turn the oven down to 150°C (fan).

Take each hollow tomato and fill it as high as you can with the cooked rice mixture. Make a space amongst the potatoes and place the tomato in that space.  Repeat with each tomato, then sprinkle some parmesan onto each stuffed tomato and, finally, top each one with two strips of the tomato ‘lids’ you cut out earlier.

Place the dish back into the oven and bake until the tomatoes are very soft and the rice has a crispy parmesan topping.  The potatoes should be cooked and golden, not overly brown.  This takes approximately 40-45 minutes.

Serve on their own, as a side-dish, or as a starter.  These are also delicious once they’ve cooled down a little to luke-warm.

Enjoy!

Gloriously simple, gloriously good!

 

 

 

 

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Pasta with Chicken, Vegetable and White Wine Sauce | Recipe | Low-fat food | Good Food | Low-fat Recipe | Italian Food

Pasta with Chicken, Vegetable & White Wine Sauce

Preparation Time: 20 mins
Cooking Time: 20 mins
Serves: 6

Ingredients

  • 600g short pasta, e.g. penne or conchiglie (pasta shells)
  • 300-350g Chicken thighs (boneless & skinless)
  • 2 fresh carrots
  • 2 fresh courgettes
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 2 stalks of celery
  • 2 tsp olive oil (plus a drizzle for the pasta water)
  • sea salt / rock salt (ground) – to taste
  • coarse salt (about a small handful)
  • chilli flakes, ground

Method

  1. Finely chop onion, garlic, carrots, celery & courgettes
  2. Chop up the chicken into very small (approx 5mm) pieces
  3. Heat up 1tsp oil in a sauté pan, add onions & garlic, soften on a high heat and don’t be afraid to let them brown/caramelise a little for flavour
  4. Add the carrots, celery & courgettes
  5. While still on a high heat, season with salt & crushed chilli flakes, to taste
  6. Turn down the heat & put on a lid
  7. In a small frying pan/skillet, heat up 1 tsp oil, add the chicken, season with salt & chilli flakes, to taste. Brown but don’t cook through.
  8. Add the chicken to the vegetables in the sauté pan
  9. Turn up the heat, add 100ml white wine
  10. Stir and once it comes up to the boil, turn the heat down & place on the lid, leaving to simmer gently
  11. Leave to cook for approx. 20 mins, checking to ensure it doesn’t dry out.

While the sauce is cooking, cook your pasta ‘al dente’:

  • Place water into a large stockpot and put on a high heat (use a lid if you want it to boil faster)
  • Add a drizzle of olive or vegetable oil
  • Once the water comes up to the boil, add a small handful of coarse salt
  • Add the pasta to the boiling water, stir to ensure it moves freely in the water and doesn’t stick to itself
  • Keep it boiling at all times, on a high heat, stirring occasionally to ensure the pasta moves freely
  • Check whether it’s ready before the time indicated on the packet – ideally the pasta needs to still have ‘bite’ to it and not be too soft

Once the pasta is cooked, drain it and quickly place it in a large bowl or back into the stockpot, then stir in the sauce & serve.

Gloriously Good!

For more recipes, tips & general foodie stuff, go to www.gloriouslygoodfood.com

Mamma’s remedy | food blog | recipe | good food

When I was unwell as a child, my mum would give me boiled rice, but not just any boiled rice, oh no!

Risotto rice (e.g. Arborio or Carnaroli), boiled in ample salted water (not cooked like a risotto, but with all the water added at the start), then served with some of the starchy water (i.e. you don’t drain it),  a generous drop of olive oil, a knob of butter & tons of grated parmesan. Delicious and so comforting!

Now I’m an Italian Mamma myself, I’ve been doing the same with my kids when they’re not well (though if their tummies are the problem, I steer clear of the butter & parmesan, settling for just a tiny drop of olive oil for taste instead).

My eldest daughter Charlie, aged 14, is proving quite capable in the kitchen already and tends to cook her own rice when she’s not well.  It’s an instant feel-good remedy that’s becoming a family tradition, being passed down from generation to generation.  I can imagine my grandchildren, great-grandchildren and beyond enjoying the same comfort food when they’re unwell!

Try it – you’ll immediately feel like you’re getting a lovely warm hug!

For more recipes, tips & general foodie stuff, go to www.gloriouslygoodfood.com