I’ve railed against using the oven in the summer but here’s why I would turn it on in this heat: Juicy, plump tomatoes from the farmer’s market, halved, cored, and stuffed with a savory sofrito, topped with breadcrumbs and roasted until the tomatoes are caramelized and the flavors meld together beautifully. These make a great first course if you are having a casual but elegant dinner with friends–or, with some good crusty ciabatta bread and excellent olive oil, the perfect vegan entree. Sofrito is an Italian base used in many dishes–just a simple sautee of onions, carrots, celery, garlic, and parsley. Here I used mushrooms instead of celery because, well, I have a hobbit-like passion for them.
Mushroom Sofrito Stuffed Tomatoes
2 large tomatoes
1 medium carrot, chopped fine
1/2 white onion, chopped fine
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
5-6 medium button mushrooms, chopped fine
1/3 cup breadcrumbs
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (more to drizzle)
2-3 basil leaves for garnish
1. Turn on the oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Heat the oil in a sautee pan; add onions, garlic, and carrots, and sautee for 3 minutes or so or until onions become slightly translucent. Add the mushrooms.
3. Slice the tomatoes horizontally, and take the insides out with a spoon. Add insides to the sautee pan, and cook an additional 3-4 minutes until most of the juice evaporates. Add about 2 tbsp of the breadcrumbs and stir well.
4. Take the pan off the heat. Put the tomatoes on a baking sheet lined with foil. Spoon the sofrito into the tomato halves, and top with the remaining breadcrumbs. Drizzle over them with olive oil.
5. Put the tray in the oven and bake for about 30 minutes, or until the tomatoes look tender and caramelized (the lovely smell should be a sign). Garnish with slivers of basil leaves, and serve on its own or with good Italian bread. Buon Appetito!
Also try these Italian recipes: Creamy Spinach Avocado Pesto Spaghetti