Big sweet tomatoes stuffed with rice and roasted are a summer staple in Rome.
The tomatoes get squishy soft and their flavor deepens. Sometimes wedges of potatoes are roasted alongside, and they soak up the herby tomato juices.
Together the two make a satisfying meal.
⅔ cup short-grain rice, such as Arborio
6 large ripe tomatoes
¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
½ cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano
¼ cup chopped fresh basil or parsley
Freshly ground pepper
2 pounds waxy potatoes, such as Yukon Golds, peeled and cut into ½-inch-thick wedges
Bring 8 cups salted water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the rice and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Drain and place the rice in a bowl.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425°F.
Cut the top ½ inch off the tomatoes and reserve the caps. Scoop out the tomato pulp and juices.
Chop the pulp and add it, with the juices, to the bowl with the rice.
Add 2 tablespoons of the oil, the cheese, basil, and salt and pepper to taste.
Stuff the mixture into the tomatoes and set the caps on top.
Put the potatoes in a baking pan large enough to hold them and the tomatoes in a single layer.
Toss them with the remaining 3 tablespoons oil and salt to taste and spread them out. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until just beginning to brown.
Toss the potatoes. Place the tomatoes in the pan between the potatoes.
Bake for 30 minutes more, or until the tomatoes and potatoes are tender.
Serve warm or at room temperature.