RECIPE OF THE WEEK with Alexio Pasquali: Stuffed tomatoes

Alexio Pasquali
Alexio Pasquali

TOMATOES are at the heart of Italian cooking. They’re cheap, easy to cook and full of flavour.

They’re a warming dish for the winter and will impress your family and friends even if you’ve never cooked before! You don’t need any gadgets – for this just a hand blender and a tablespoon.

It’s a great main dish for a dinner party – and tastes even better warmed up the next day. Enjoy!

You will need: 4 beef tomatoes; 1 clove garlic; 30g fresh parsley; 6 tablespoons arborio rice; handful frozen/tinned/fresh garden peas; salt and pepper; oven chips (frozen).

Preparation time - two hours (but only 10 minutes of that is actually doing anything!)

Difficulty rating - easy! The kids can help you do the only fiddly bit - stuffing the tomatoes.

How to make:

1. Using a very sharp knife cut the top off each tomato to use later as a lid (cut half inch down from the root). Sprinkle some salt inside and place upside down on a tray to drain out all the moisture.

2. Scoop out the insides of the tomatoes using a tablespoon and put the mixture into a bowl

3. Blend the mixture, using a hand blender, until it’s like soup – creamy with no lumps

4. Finely chop the garlic, parsley and add, along with the dried rice (not cooked), and a pinch of salt and pepper into the soupy mixture. Cover the bowl with cling film and leave in the fridge for a few hours. The longer you can leave it the more flavour the mixture will have.

5.After at least two hours, remove the mixture from the fridge. Preheat oven to 180 C, Gas 4. Use a tablespoon to stuff the tomatoes with the mixture - fill up to the top. Place the ‘lid’ back on the tomatoes (complete with root) and place in the oven, on a baking tray. Drizzle olive oil over the top of the tomatoes.

6. Cook at 180 C, Gas 4, for 30 minutes. Ten minutes before the end of the cooking time, pop the oven chips into the oven to cook until golden brown.

7. Serve with oven chips, and garden peas. My kids like it with carrots too. Pour the juice of the tomatoes from the baking tray over the top for a yummy sauce. You can eat everything except the stalk!

Serve hot or cold.