This is a superb, vegetarian dish by Maria Luisa Taglienti, dating back to 1955. I’m a committed carnivore and not a huge fan of cheese, but even I love this dish. And it’s not hard to make.
Ingredients for the tomatoes
- 4 large tomatoes, the firmer the better
- 1/4 cup of rice
- 6 tablespoons butter, melted
- 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 tablespoon chopped continental parsley
- 1/3 cup diced cream cheese [Neuchatel or Philadelphia]
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper [white]
Pre-head oven to moderate [just under 180C in a fan bake oven].
Cook the rice in salted water for 10 minutes. It should still be a little hard in the middle. Drain.
Mix the rice with 4 tablespoons of butter, the two cheeses, parsley, salt and pepper. This is your ‘stuffing’.
Take out the core of each tomato, including the seeds/pulp, [and set aside if making the optional sauce]. You should now have 4 ‘cups’.
Sprinkle the inside of each cup with salt and pepper, then stuff with the cheese mix.
Butter a baking dish and place the stuffed tomatoes inside with a knob of butter on top of each one.
Bake for approx. 25 minutes or until golden on top.
Optional green beans and simple tomato sauce
While the tomatoes are baking, lightly fry a small, chopped onion and 2-3 cloves of garlic. When golden and aromatic, add 1 sachet of tomato paste [approx. 1 tablespoon] and the pulp taken from the inside of the tomatoes. Add a pinch of salt, stir and cook on a low heat until the stuffed tomatoes are done.
While the sauce is simmering, top and tail a handful of green beans per person and steam until cooked but still firm.
Serve the stuffed tomatoes with the steamed green beans, the red sauce and crusty white bread. Enjoy!