Monday, September 22, 2008

Tomatoes stuffed with herbed rice

This was a very easy side dish made easier by using that boil-in-a-bag type of rice.
I like Uncle Ben's. It's easy and the rice does not get too mushy.

One bag should be enough to stuff four medium-size tomatoes.

The other good thing about the prep can be done ahead and then they can be baked when you need them. They also can be served at room temperature. Which is what I did.
I made the tomatoes and then while they were cooling a bit, made the rest of the dinner.

Here's what I did.

Tomatoes stuffed with herbed rice

1 bag Uncle Ben's boil-in-a-bag long grain rice
1 teaspoon plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
4 medium tomatoes, ripe but firm
3 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup fresh Parmesan cheese, grated
salt and pepper

Cook the rice according to package directions, then rinse with cold water to cool.
(I actually used half white wine-half veggie broth instead of water to cook)

Heat oven to 350.
Lightly coat baking dish with 1 teaspoon of olive oil.

Cut a slice, about 1/2 inch thick, off the top of each tomato, saving the tops.

Scoop the seeds, juice and flesh out of each tomato into a small bowl and set aside.

Place hollowed-out tomatoes in baking dish.
If they do not sit steady in the pan, flatten the bottom by cutting off a thin slice.

To the cooled rice add:
1/4 cup of the reserved tomato flesh
2 tablespoons of olive oil
lemon juice
Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Spoon rice mixture into each of the hollowed-out tomatoes.
Replace reserved tomato tops.

Bake about 20 minutes or until rice is heated through and tomato softens.

These can be served hot or at room temperature.
They can be made up to 4 hours ahead of time, which gives you time to work on the rest of the meal.

I made mine about 90 minutes ahead of time and they came out great.
I tasted the rice right from the oven and it was good, but I think letting them sit and cool a bit brings out the fresh herb flavors even more.

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