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Friday, October 25, 2013

Risotto and Beef Stuffed Tomatoes

All year long I wait patiently for FRESH garden tomatoes out of my mother's garden.  There is nothing better than a beautiful, ripe, red tomato!  Popped right into my mouth from the vine or sliced thickly on a piece of homemade bread with cheddar cheese makes my taste buds sing with happiness.  I also LOVE a good stuffed tomato.  Comfort food at it's best in my book! 
  It takes time and patience to prepare stuffed tomatoes.  A true recipe from the heart as it is a deliciously comforting dish that only requires simple ingredients.  I chose to make my stuffing with ground beef to accompany the risotto.  Ground chicken, pork, turkey or sausage could be easily put in place of the beef. 
I found this recipe to be a perfect weekend meal as it does take a little time to prepare with the use of Arborio rice in the filling.   But the risotto is a perfect addition to the tomatoes and meat as it has such a lovely texture and is full of flavor.
 So grab those last garden tomatoes, your favorite ground meat and some lovely risotto so that you can whip up a batch of stuffed tomatoes for this coming weekend.  It's truly the right thing to do!
Risotto Stuffed Tomatoes
(recipe from Ms. enPlace)
2-4 large tomatoes
1 lb ground meat of your choice (I used ground beef)
1 Tbsp olive oil, plus more for drizzling \
2 Tbsp chopped garlic - about 2-3 cloves
1/2 cup Arborio rice
1/2 cup reserved tomato juice from tomatoes
1 1/2 cups chicken broth, warmed
1/3 cup loosely packed chopped basil or parsley
salt and pepper to taste
1. Cut off top 1/3 of each tomato and set aside.  Remove insides of each tomato with paring knife/spoon and reserve what you scoop out.  Be careful not to puncture the walls of the tomatoes as you work.  Drain reserved tomato pulp over a bowl in a strainer.  Breaking up the tomato pieces will help this process along.
2. Place tomatoes in a medium greased baking dish.  Propping the tomatoes up against one another may need to happen in order for them to stay upright.
3. Using a large skillet heat 1 Tbsp olive oil to saut√© your meat over medium heat.  Saute meat until lightly browned.  Add in garlic and then lower your heat, cooking a few minutes more.
4. Add rice into the skillet with the ground meat/garlic mixture.  Saute until the rice is translucent - about 5-7 minutes.  Add in 1/2 cup of the reserved tomato juice - stir until almost all absorbed.  Add in warmed broth - 1/2 cup at a time, each time stirring after each addition until adsorbed.  Test rice for "doneness" after about 15 minutes.  If rice is still hard add in more liquid - 1/2 cup at a time, stirring until almost absorbed each time.  If rice is chewy, remove skillet from heat. Stir in herbs along with salt and pepper to taste.
5. Preheat oven to 400. Spoon mixture into prepared tomato shells (most likely you will have extra filling left over that you can use for another meal/dish - we made burritos out of our extra filling). Place tomato tops over the stuffed tomatoes and then drizzle with olive oil.  Bake for 35-40 minutes - tomatoes will be soft and the rice tender when done.  Remove your lovely stuffed tomatoes from the oven and cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Happy Risotto and Beef Stuffed Tomato Making!


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