Food writer and cookbook author Eleanora Galasso has a new collection of recipes inspired by the long and storied culinary history of Rome. Take a tour of the old and new, classic and modern, with photos, stories and dishes for every occasion and time of day.
This is Roman street food par excellence, the sort of thing you would get in a rosticceria to take back home or to the office. I like to inject a little fun into the kitchen by taking what was once in vogue and bringing it up to date, and this retro dish is definitely ready for a comeback. I love the way such simple ingredients can turn into something so tasty. Eye-catching red parcels, perfect for a cozy meal in that most exclusive restaurant: your own kitchen.
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for oiling
- 5 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled, parboiled in salted water and cut into chunks
- Handful rosemary leaves
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and left whole divided
- 1 1/4 cups vegetable stock
- 6 large high-quality tomatoes, each weighing about 7 ounces
- 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
- 2 tablespoons basil leaves
- 2 tablespoons chopped thyme leaves
- 1 cup arborio or carnaroli risotto rice
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
- 2 1/4 ounces scamorza, haloumi, or mozzarella de cucina (cooking mozzarella), cut into 6 pieces
- Salt and pepper
For the tomatoes
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two baking pans with nonstick parchment paper.
Lightly oil an oven dish or roasting pan and add the parboiled potato chunks, rosemary, and two garlic cloves. Cover with the stock, transfer to the oven, and cook for 1 hour, or until the potatoes are soft and slightly browned at the edges. Drain the potatoes and set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, prepare the tomatoes. Slice off the top one-third of each tomato and reserve (these will act as the “lids” for the stuffed tomatoes). With a spoon, scoop out the pulp and juices of the tomatoes, transfer them to a food processor, and blend together until smooth. Sprinkle the inside of the tomatoes with salt and set them upside down on a wire rack to drain.
Gently fry the remaining garlic clove in the olive oil until browned, then add the blended tomato and let simmer for 10 minutes over low heat until thickened. Remove the garlic, season to taste, and stir in the chopped herbs. Set aside.
Boil the rice in abundant salted water following the package directions for about 15 to 18 minutes, until al dente, then drain and transfer to a bowl with the tomato sauce and grated Parmesan and pecorino cheeses. Stir together well.
Place the tomatoes on one of the prepared baking pans. Fill each with a tablespoon of the rice mixture, add a piece of scamorza, and cover with more rice to fill. Arrange the tomato caps on the other baking pan. Drizzle the tomatoes and lids with oil and season with pepper. Transfer to the oven, placing the tomato lids on the bottom rack, and bake for 55 minutes, turning the broiler up to high for the final 5 minutes of cooking, until golden brown.
Remove the tomatoes and lids from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes. Put the lids on the tomatoes and serve with the potatoes.