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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Sautéed Potatoes with Chorizo | Chorizo Potatoes

These sautéed potatoes with chorizo

are a simple yet delicious accompaniment to any meat dish

Sauteed potatoes with chorizo | chorizo potatoes

Ingredients:
  • Potatoes – peeled and cut into approx. 1.5-2cm squares
  • Chorizo – sliced into approx. 1mm thick slices, then each slice quartered
  • Olive oil
  • Paprika
  • Fine sea salt

I’ve left quantities up to you as this is really a ‘chuck it in the pan and go for it’ kind of recipe, rather than being too prescriptive.

Method:

Heat up a generous splash of olive oil in a non-stick frying pan.  Once the oil is really hot, add the potatoes and season with sea salt and a sprinkling of paprika.  Toss them around in the hot oil to ensure the paprika has evenly coated them, then add the diced chorizo pieces.

Turn the heat down and cook on a gentle heat for 20-30 minutes until the potatoes are cooked but not falling apart.  Turn up the heat to crisp them off a little, then when they’re ready, remove them from the pan with a slotted spoon so you leave some of the fat behind.

Perfect as a Tapas style dish or as an accompaniment to meat/chicken dishes.

Enjoy!

Chorizo potatoes | Gloriously Simple, Glooriously Good!

Gratin Dauphinois | Potatoes Dauphinoise Style

I absolutely adore Gratin Dauphinois!

It is one of the most indulgent ways to eat potatoes and, for years, I thought this was a really complicated recipe to make.  I then watched Chef James Martin make them on TV once and he had a method of cooking them in a pan that made me think “Ah, I can do that!” so over the years, I’ve adapted ingredients and quantities and put my own spin on the recipe.  The great thing about cooking is that, even with classic dishes that have been established for a very long time, everyone can put their own ‘stamp’ on a dish and make it their own 🙂

This is my take on the classic Gratin Dauphinois (Dauphinoise Potatoes / Potatoes Dauphinoise Style) – whatever you want to call it 😉

These potatoes are particularly delicious as an accompaniment to roast lamb!

Gratin Dauphinois | Potatoes Dauphinoise | Dauphinoise Potatoes

Gratin Dauphinois (shown here with garlic & rosemary roast lamb and steamed broccoli)

Ingredients

For approx. 6 portions (depends how hungry you are!)

  • 1kg (approx.) potatoes (roughly 8-10 potatoes), peeled and thinly sliced
  • 4 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 50g fresh salted butter
  • 600ml fresh double cream
  • 300ml fresh milk
  • 150-200g (depends how cheesy you like it) Gruyère or Emmenthal cheese
  • salt, to taste
  • freshly ground nutmeg, to taste

Method

  • Pre-heat oven to 180ºC (fan-assisted) – adjust heat & timings for non-fan-assisted ovens
  • In a deep Sauté Pan, melt the butter on a low heat
  • Add the thinly sliced shallots and finely chopped garlic to the butter and keep these on a low heat for about 5 mins, or until they have softened and acquired a ‘transparent’ look
  • Add the double cream and the milk (I like using the milk to ‘rinse out’ the double cream pot) to the pan
  • Season (to taste) with salt and freshly ground nutmeg (optional)
  • Stir and bring to the boil
  • Carefully place the potatoes into the creamy mixture
  • Stir to ensure the potato slices separate and the creamy mixture coats all slices – there should be a slight excess of liquid
  • Gently bring back to the boil
  • As soon as it comes to the boil, you’ll see the liquid starting to thicken – at this point, transfer the potatoes and cream to a DEEP oven-proof dish
  • Spread out evenly in the oven-proof dish
  • Sprinkle on the grated cheese evenly
  • Place in the oven and cook for approximately 50 mins (to check, poke with a skewer or fork…the potatoes should be soft and the cheese golden)

The dish is best left to rest for 10 mins or so after it comes out of the oven, to allow the creamy sauce to thicken a little bit, making it easier and more attractive to serve…that’s if you can wait that long!!!

It also tastes delicious (probably even better!) re-heated the next day, as this allows all the flavours to infuse.

Gratin Dauphinois | Potatoes Dauphinoise | Dauphinoise Potatoes

Gloriously Simple, Gloriously Good!

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