Dianne says, “For these saffron risotto stuffed tomatoes, it’s advisable to use ripe but still firm skinned tomatoes which makes scooping the inner flesh out more manageable. For the pasta filling I’ve combined arborio rice with sweet peppers, which incidentally are a close relation to the tomato – no surprise then as to why they partner so well. Be cautious when adding the saffron though, as too much of this costly spice and your risotto could slant towards a slightly medicinal taste. Although this dish is a meat-free marvel, I’d definitely not relegate it to a Monday-only special. It’s food fit for the whole of summer. Serve as a starter or side alongside your Sunday roast for a truly veritable feast.”
Saffron risotto stuffed tomatoes
olive oil, for cooking
6 large, ripe tomatoes
several stems fresh oregano
1 small brown onion or shallot, diced
1 clove garlic
1 of each, red and yellow sweet peppers, finely diced
3/4 cup arborio or carnaroli (risotto) rice
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon paprika
a generous pinch of saffron threads
1/4 teaspoon dried red chilli flakes
1/3 cup white wine
1 cup (250ml) vegetable stock
salt and freshly ground black pepper
fresh basil, to serve
Preheat the oven to 200° C. Slice the tops off the tomatoes to create a lid, about 1cm thick. With a spoon, scoop out and remove the inner flesh and chop as fine as possible. Reserve this tomato pulp for later. Turn the tomatoes upside down to drain.
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a pan and sauté the onion until soft. Add the garlic and chopped sweet peppers and cook for several minutes more. Stir through the risotto rice. Season with oregano, paprika, saffron, chilli and a pinch of salt. Coat the rice with all the aromatics in the pan and dry-fry for a minute or two to toast the rice. This will enhance the flavour and lend a slight nuttiness to the overall taste. Deglaze the pan with the wine and reduce by half. Add the reserved tomato pulp and vegetable stock. Simmer for about 5 minutes.
Turn the tomatoes right side up and season inside with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Place a sprig of oregano into the tomatoes and fill generously with the risotto mixture. Place the lids on top, drizzle liberally with olive oil and a scattering of sea salt flakes. Roast for 50 – 60 minutes until the skin is blistered and the tomatoes are soft. Baste with the pan juices half-way through the cooking time. Finish with fresh basil, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and serve with crusty ciabatta bread and a fresh garden salad.
Michael’s wine recommendation – CLICK HERE
Dianne Bibby is a former fashion designer, turned food enthusiast and avid cook. At 36 she hung up her fashionable hat, tied on her kitchen apron and started on a new culinary journey.
Her kitchen is a creative gathering place where meals are shared with family and friends, celebrating life and nurturing our connectivity. For Dianne food is relational and pivotal to the way in which she expresses love, care and hospitality. Currently she spends most of her time developing recipes and teaching group cooking classes.
Says Dianne, “My food philosophy is relatively uncomplicated with inspiration being drawn from diverse global food trends and seasonal produce. My recipes are not exclusively tied to any particular food preference but rather an exploration of all foods that are vibrant and fresh.”
Dianne hopes that you will be motivated and inspired to try something new, making the time you spend in the kitchen deeply satisfying and rewarding.
She’d love to hear from you – CLICK HERE