Baked rice-stuffed tomatoes

Baked rice-stuffed tomatoes

INGREDIENTS

6-7 large truss tomatoes
salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
3-4 tablespoons freshly grated pecorino, plus extra for sprinkling
thyme leaves, to taste
100ml extra-virgin olive oil
12-14 tablespoons carnaroli or arborio rice
4 potatoes, peeled and each potato cut into eight wedges
3-4 garlic cloves, crushed
a few thyme or rosemary sprigs
chilli oil, to serve (optional)
METHOD

Preheat your oven to 180C fan-forced (200C conventional) and line a baking tray with baking paper (or grease with olive oil).
Cut the top off each tomato and set aside. Scoop out the pulp and place in a bowl, then season the hollow tomatoes with salt. Using your hands, squeeze out as much liquid as possible from the pulp and break it down with a fork. Season the tomato pulp and juice with salt and pepper and stir in the pecorino, thyme leaves and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the rice and combine.
Spoon 2 tablespoons of the rice mixture into each tomato and place in the prepared tray. Add 1-2 tablespoons of water to each tomato to help the rice cook evenly, then put the tomato lids on top. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over the tomatoes and season with an extra pinch of salt.
Place the potato wedges in a bowl, add the garlic and remaining olive oil, then season with salt and pepper. Toss together, then arrange the potato in the tray around the tomatoes and top with some thyme or rosemary sprigs.
Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the tomatoes are scorched, the rice is cooked through and the potato wedges are golden. Take the lids off the tomatoes and sprinkle a little pecorino over the rice filling. Return to the oven for another 5-10 minutes to create a crust.
Take the tray out of the oven and put the tomato lids back on. You can enjoy this hot, or cover with foil and rest for 20 minutes, then serve warm with a splash of chilli oil, if you like.

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