Never quite follows the recipe. Doesn't really measure. Tastes with her fingers. Somehow, it always works.

It’s what’s on the inside that counts

Posted: July 1st, 2009 | Author: johanna | Filed under: Johanna | 24 Comments »

TherapyMeet my shrink.
When I’m at work, when I’m on the subway, whenever I’m not here, not in this place, I’m thinking about it. I’m wondering what I’m going to cook. I’m thinking about who I can feed. I’m thinking about my readers, about what they’ll think, about whether they’ll try my recipes, whether they even can understand my recipes.

When I’m here, everything else goes away. Work doesn’t stress me out. Messes don’t bother me. Here, I’m in therapy. Just thought you should know.
Tonight, I re-created a recipe that I made a few weeks ago but didn’t get a chance to enjoy while hot, because I was taking my girl Marla out to celebrate finishing fashion school and all that is wondrous about her. So off-the-cuff I decided that since I had all the components, I’d try it again. It was a wonder. It was everything I thought it could be. I’m SO happy that I ate it cold first, because eating it cold was delish. Eating it hot was…… amazing. Amazing.

Adapted and borrowed from Luisa and Molly who are two of my blog inspirations, both for their recipes and their honesty.

Preheat your oven to 350. Take 2 (or 4) lovely ripe tomatoes. Cut the tops off and scoop all the guts out into a bowl. Reserve the liquid, chop up the guts, and put them in the bowl with the juice and the seeds, and put the tomato hulls into a baking dish of some sort. I used a glass pie plate:
HullsGuts

Then, dice half an onion (or a whole one if it’s small) and put it in a small-to-medium saucepan on medium heat with around a tablespoon of butter. You want to let the onion sweat. Or at least, I do, so I add a wee bit of salt, to help the onion give up its juices. Once the onion has sufficiently softened, add 1/3 cup of arborio rice, and cook for a minute or two. You want the rice to give off some of its starch. *Then, add the tomato guts and 1/3 cup of water, and of course a pinch of salt. Stir, and if you’re following the recipe, add basil. If you’re me, and you’re in need of a support group, add dried oregano, cover and simmer on medium-low heat for 10 minutes:

OnionOnion + RiceRice + Guts

After the simmering and sweating and sauteeing and whatnot, put the rice mixture BACK into the tomatoes, top with breadcrumbs (I used a mix of panko and seasoned Italian breadcrumbs) and a grating of parmesan (not in the original, but as previously mentioned…..I meddle). Bake for an hour to an hour and fifteen minutes. If the tomatoes fall apart, they’re done. Mine did, and the cheese didn’t brown up, so I put them under the broiler to do just that.

Before

From humble beginnings, to gooey tomatoey ricey cheesey goodness!!!! BEHOLD!!!!

After

Alright, I admit, these look kind of fugly. And my pictures seriously don’t do them justice, since my tomatoes fell apart and gooed everywhere. But look at the pictures on Luisa’s blog for an idea of what they look like when you’re as awesome as the Wednesday Chef of course is. Mine…. were ugly. But delicious. And even better, they were hot. And I do love things when they’re served at the proper temperature.
These don’t have a lick of garlic in them, but they could of course take some without adverse effects. And if you added some stock in with the tomato guts instead of water, things would only get better.

This combines two of my great loves, and I sincerely hope you try it because while they may not be the prettiest girl on the planet, what’s inside is some of the most wonderful stuff. :)

*I’ll admit that I’m a little afraid every time I add all that water in with the tomato guts all at once. It goes against all my risotto sensibilities. But this is the only way to make it cook properly IN the tomato. You need the rice partially cooked. So do it. It’ll be ok. I promise.


24 Comments on “It’s what’s on the inside that counts”

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