Ricotta Stuffed Tomatoes
Inspired by Cooking on a Budget
As soon as I saw these cheese-stuffed tomatoes from Cooking on a Budget, I knew I had to try them. And today turned out to be the most opportune time for it. Today I had to drive 5 hours to retrieve my daughter. I am fortunate that her friend’s mom is also willing to drive 5 hours … we both start at the same time and agree on a meeting place in the middle. We’ve done this trade three times this summer. This was the last of the series. It is sort of a bittersweet moment … I am happy that my girl is home, but also sad because this means we only have fall and winter and school to look forward to. She has friends here, but is so much closer to her friend far away. No, summer is NOT over yet, but for her, I’m sure right now it feels like it is. I hear the sadness in her voice even as she snuggles with her cat who has been missing her dearly when she was gone.
As I was driving home in the pouring rain, my daughter was dozing and I realized I was hungry, but I didn’t want to eat on the road when I have so much good food at home. I didn’t have to worry about the kids because they were coordinating meals as we were driving … she was going to cook their favorite chicken recipe upon her return. I realized I had everything readily at hand to make these lovely cheese-stuffed tomatoes for myself–and then quickly vacate the kitchen so she could do her thing.
You see, I have the scrumptious ricotta filling from making Zucchini Ravioli and also Pesto Trapanese from this month’s cooking class. I mixed the two together and used them for the filling for these lovely tomatoes, adding a simple cheesy breadcrumb mixture on top and baking for only 8 – 10 minutes, enough to brown the crumbs and melt the cheese and lightly cook the tomatoes. That is all you need.
The tomatoes were just lightly cooked, not too soft to pick up, and the breadcrumbs were perfectly browned. The cheese was nicely melty, but still a little messy. What I really love about this recipe is you can make just one tomato (two halves) for yourself for a snack, or an entire baking-sheet-full, for a crowd or a dinner party, or anywhere in between.
- 1 15-oz container of part-skim ricotta cheese
- 2 - 4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
- About 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
- A small sprig of fresh rosemary leaves, chopped fine
- 1 heaping cup shredded Parmesan, Romano or Asiago cheese (or a mix of them)
- 1 - 3 Tablespoons of Pesto Trapanese (recipe here or Pesto Rosso recipe here, this pesto addition is optional)
- Fresh garden tomatoes, sliced in half vertically
- Breadcrumbs mixed with shredded Italian cheeses (2/3 ratio) with a bit of Italian seasoning (use gluten free breadcrumbs if you need it gluten free)
- Preheat the oven to 375 F. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.
- Prepare the ricotta mixture: Mix together the ricotta ingredients. Set aside.
- Slice the tomatoes in half vertically, then hollow them out carefully using a grapefruit spoon, leaving the outer shell completely intact. Save the "insides" for another use such as soup or bruschetta.
- Spoon some of the ricotta mixture into each tomato half, enough to fill it to the top. Smooth out the top with a spoon, then sprinkle with the cheesy breadcrumb mixture.
- Bake at 375 for about 10 minutes or until the breadcrumbs are browned and the cheese is melted.
- Enjoy! (You'd best put them on a plate and use a fork--fingers will get VERY messy!)
RECIPE SOURCE: http://www.sumptuousspoonfuls.com/
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Aren’t they lovely? You will be tempted to pick these up with your fingers and eat them like this … I tried it and it IS possible to pick these up and eat them, but really, you probably want to use a fork and plate. The ricotta mixture gets a little messy with the soft tomatoes.
This recipe was shared at Munching Monday, Tuesday’s Table, Simple Supper Tuesday, Treasure Box Tuesday, Full Plate Thursday, Foodie Friends Friday, Hearth & Soul Bloghop, Create & Share Link-Up and Clever Chicks Bloghop.