Stuffed Tomatoes

Stuffed Tomatoes

For a while stuffed tomatoes have been calling to me. I don’t know why and it’s not something I’ve had a lot in my life, but they’ve been in the back of my mind calling “Hey Dianne…Make us!” I’ve made a stuffed tomato before, but that version just wasn’t quite what I had in mind for this go round, even though goat cheese…Well what’s not to like?

When I first envisioned this dish I had thought I would use wild rice in the mix, but as luck would have it when I went to cook the wild rice I discovered mid batch that my steamer had gone to the big steamer heaven in the sky. (What is up with my appliances/kitchen tools lately?? First my food processor, then my manual can opener, then my steamer. And my mixer keeps going in out too. What’s up with that?) So I took that as a sign and opted to use a version of lentils instead and let me tell you the substitution was fantastic!

Stuffed Tomatoes are extremely easy to make and they taste fabulous as well, so what are you waiting for?

On a totally unrelated note it looks as though we may have a visit from Topical Storm Hanna over the weekend. The last tropical system that hit Maryland that had a major impact was Isabel in 2003. Alexis was four months old and we lost power for seven days! Seven very long, very icky, very primitive days! Lex looked at us after a day or so like “Really? This is getting old!” Let’s hope and pray that this time around things aren’t as bad shall we?

Oh and we have two more tomato recipes coming up this weekend! So don’t forget to check in. Hopefully the storm won’t affect posting! ;o)

Now…On to the recipe!

What You’ll Need:
1 cup of cooked black beluga lentils (Note: They are called this because they look like beluga caviar.)
Extra virgin olive oil
1 cup of red onion, chopped
2 large button mushrooms, chopped
1 cup of baby spinach leaves, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
3 ounces pancetta, chopped
1/2 cup Pecornio Romano or Parmesan cheese, shredded, plus some for sprinkling

In a large skillet sauté onion and mushroom in a little extra virgin olive oil until onion is slightly caramelized. Add spinach and garlic and cook until spinach is just wilted. Add a pinch of sea salt, some freshly ground black pepper and the pancetta and cook until pancetta is slightly browned. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.

Preheat oven to 375 F.

While the veggie/pancetta mixture is cooling cut the tops off of your tomatoes:

Stuffed Tomatoes: Tomatoes Ready to Hollow

Next scoop out the flesh and seeds of the tomato and set aside:

Stuffed Tomatoes: Tomatoes Ready to Stuff

(Note: There is not need to waste the stuff you scooped out. I like to put it in the freezer and use it when I make chili or tomato soup.)

Once the tomatoes are hollowed out mix cooked lentils into the veggie/pancetta mixture along with the grated cheese and stir to mix. Stuff each tomato generously and place in a baking dish. Sprinkle with some shredded cheese and drizzle with a little olive oil:

Stuffed Tomatoes: Ready to Bake

Bake tomatoes for 25-30 minutes until the tomato is tender, but not mushy. Remove from the oven and let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Stuffed Tomatoes: Baked

With large tomatoes this easily makes a main course. Pair it with some steamed vegetables and/or a salad and you’ve got the perfect meal!

Note: This mixture will fill 4 large softball sized tomatoes, but you could also use smaller golf ball sized tomatoes and make it an appetizer instead of a main course. If you wanted to make it vegetarian you could leave out the pancetta.

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