I know it can be confusing to prepare a meal for dinner guests who are vegetarians. Having that prior notice used to give me panic attacks until I discovered this recipe. The best thing about this dish is the fact that it’s packed with nutrients. That matters when you have guests who count the vitamins and calories in everything.
I just have to say that rice is very filling so I urge you not to eat too much of this at one time. But the dish is lovely as a dinner starter. Try serving it up with other light dishes such as fish (or any seafood dish for that matter) or chicken but never with pasta or mashed potatoes. You don’t want to load your guests up with too many carbohydrates in one meal.
You’re probably in for a treat too because of the Parmesan cheese which doesn’t overwhelm the dish at all. It even gives it a little twist if you find the tomatoes a bit much. Other than this side note, you’re good to go!
- 1 cup short-grain white rice
- 6 ripe but firm large tomatoes
- 4 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Fill up a medium sauce pan with water and add salt. Bring this to a boil and add the rice. Stirring constantly, wait for the rice to cook. It takes about 10 minutes and then you can drain the excess water. Run cold water through the rice and drain as well to set it aside.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Meanwhile, slice off the tops of the tomatoes about half an inch thick. Set aside the tops. Gently scoop out all the juice, seeds and pulp and place them on a separate bowl. Reserve ¼ cup of the tomato juice-pulp content.
- Prepare an 8 x 8 inch thick baking dish and spread olive oil to grease the bottom. Then arrange the hollowed out tomatoes into the baking dish.
- In a mixing bowl, throw in the remaining tomato juice-pulp contents with the rice. Mix these before adding the Parmesan cheese, basil, parsley, garlic and olive oil. Combine them well and season with salt and pepper.
- Then spoon a mixture of the rice into each tomato and mound them in slightly to make sure the contents are really stuffed inside. When done, sprinkle what’s left of the stuffing mixture at the bottom of the pan and drizzle with olive oil. Place the sliced off tops on the tomato and bake in the oven until rice is heated through, usually about 20 minutes. Best served hot or at room temperature, when necessary.