No, they’re not tomatoes stuffed with Italians. That would just be creepy…and gross.
They’re tomatoes stuffed and seasoned in an Italian style!
And they’re really really good.
I mean, when I found this recipe, I thought to myself, “Hmm, that looks good. Maybe I’ll try it out”. When I actually made the dish, and my husband and I both took our first bite, our reaction was, “This is goooood!” Have you had moments like those? Those special recipes that surpass your expectations in all the right ways? Those are the gems that go into your recipe book after only making them once.
This recipe is one such gem. You will not be disappointed.
Note: The recipe calls for ricotta cheese, but as anyone living in Japan knows, it’s really hard to find ricotta cheese here. You can use cottage cheese instead of the ricotta (that’s what I did), and it will still taste great. It’ll also be lower in fat if you use cottage cheese, so for those who want a healthier version, you may want to use cottage cheese.
Based on the recipe from The Italian Dish.
Italian Stuffed Tomatoes
- 6 medium/small tomatoes
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 small onion, diced
- 1/2 red bell pepper (paprika), diced
- 1/2 small eggplant (or two small Japanese eggplants), diced
- 3/4 c. ricotta cheese (or cottage cheese)
- 1/4 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
- 2 Tbsp grated parmesan cheese
- 1 egg
- 1/3 c. bread crumbs
- 1/2 Tbsp dried oregano
- 1 Tbsp dried basil
- salt and pepper
- Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F (190 C)
- Cut the tops off the tomatoes, and scoop out the seeds and flesh, reserving 1/4 cup for the filling. Lightly salt the insides of the tomatoes, and place upside down in a colander so the excess liquid can drain out.
- Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 4 – 5 minutes, or until tender. Add the bell pepper and eggplant, and continue cooking for 8 – 10 minutes, or until tender. Remove from heat and let cool.
- In a large bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese, and parmesan cheese. Add the egg, bread crumbs, oregano, and basil and mix well. Season with salt and pepper. Add the vegetable mixture, and mix everything well (at this point, you can blend the filling in a food processor to make it smooth, but it’s not necessary).
- Scoop the filling into the tomatoes until slightly higher than the top of the tomatoes. Place in a glass baking dish, and drizzle lightly with olive oil.
- Bake for about 30 minutes, or until filling is golden brown and tomatoes are tender.