Inspired by Smitten Kitchen


  • 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Coarse or Kosher salt
  • 6 medium-to-large tomatoes
  • Red pepper flakes, to taste
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • ½ cup Arborio or other short-grained, starchy rice
  • Few tablespoons chopped parsley, oregano or slivered basil
  • Handful breadcrumbs


  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat an ovenproof baking dish with olive oil.
  2. To prepare the tomatoes, cut the tops off and scoop out the tomato juices, seeds and flesh. Salt the cavities of the tomatoes and turn them upside down on a plate to drain.
  3. To prepare the filling, run the scooped-out tomato flesh and juices through a food mill or pulse in a blender until coarsely pureed. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Once hot, add the onion, the garlic and the red pepper flakes, cooking them together for 2 minutes, or until the onion begins to soften. Add the rice and cook together for about 3 minutes, or until the rice toasts a little. Add the tomato puree and bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to medium-low. Season with 3/4 teaspoon of the salt, then cover the skillet and let simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until rice is par-cooked. Adjust seasoning to taste.
  4. To reassemble tomatoes. stir the fresh herbs into the tomato-rice mixture. Arrange the tomatoes right-side-up in the baking pan, then spoon mixture into the tomatoes, filling them 7/8 of the way to leave room for the rice to finish expanding. Coat with the breadcrumbs, which can be drizzled lightly with olive oil.
  5. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes, until the tomato walls are soft and the rice inside has finished cooking. Serve hot.