Friday, 29 November 2013

Italian Stuffed Tomatoes

I had friends over for dinner the other night and thought it would be the perfect opportunity to whip out my new cook book, Antonio Carluccio's Italia - The recipes and customs of the regions, and try some new recipes!

Antonio Carluccio takes you on a gastronomic tour through Italy discussing the traditions and recipes found in its various regions. Each chapter delves into a region discussing its history, culinary traditions and specialities as well as Antonio's personal experiences with the area.

With the beautiful spring weather we have been having (apart from today! Where did all that rain come from?!) I wanted to make an entree that was fresh and light, this recipe for Pomodori Farciti al Forno or Stuffed baked tomatoes, really stood out.

What I love about Italian cooking is the depth of flavour created from such simple ideas and straight forward, uncomplicated ingredients. This recipe is no exception.

Pomodori Farciti al Forno is a traditional dish from the Lazio region, the land of the Romans. An area where the cooking is generally simple, honest and true to the season. The volcanic soil of Lazio is said to produce some of the biggest and most beautiful vegetables in Italy and is particularly known for its artichoke.

My soundtrack today was Symphony No. 7 by Beethoven. This weekend I start rehearsals with the Perth Chamber Orchestra for our upcoming Beer Beethoven and Bratworst - I can't wait to play this wonderful piece of music again with such a fantastic ensemble. If you are in Perth and free on the 10th of December I highly recommend joining us.

Anyway - to the recipe!

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees celsius.

Cut the tops off 4 large tomatoes and place the lids to the side. Scoop out the inside of the tomatoes and strain the juice into a bowl.

Cook 50g of arborio or risotto rice in salted water for roughly 7 minutes before draining and setting aside to cool. Once cooled mix with the tomato juice, 2 tablespoons of coarsely chopped mint, 8 finely chopped anchovy fillets, 1 clove of garlic finely chopped and a good glug of olive oil (2 - 4 tablespoons). Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Spoon the stuffing into the tomato cavities and put the lids back on. Place the tomatoes on a baking tray and bake for around 20mins or until the skins have wrinkled up and the tomatoes are soft.
Serve hot as an entree, side or simply an addition to the table.

And there you have it - Just 7 ingredients for a light dish full of flavour, perfect for the sunshine.

4 large ripe tomatoes
50g risotto rice
2tbsp coarsely choped mint
8 anchovy fillets, finely chopped
4tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

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