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Baked Stuffed Fresh Tomatoes

Here's a perfectly delicious way to enjoy your biggest, juiciest, sun-kissed garden beauties as a main course ; just toss a simple green salad to join them . Also scrumptious for lunch the next day , heated up in the microwave.

9 – 10 large ripe tomatoes
1 pound mild (sweet) Italian sausage
3/4 cups uncooked Arborio or long grain rice
4 large cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1/2 cup chopped Italian parsley
3/4 cup freshly grated Asiago or Parmesan cheese
4 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Remove stems, then cut off tops and reserve them. With a sharp knife, cut a thin slice off the bottoms of the tomatoes so they sit flat , then carve out the inside of the tomatoes, leaving the shell intact . Chop up the tomato pulp and bottom slices coarsely and put in a bowl. Drain and reserve their juices separately in a cup.

Remove casings and crumble sausage and place in a deep skillet. Sauté over medium heat ,stirring to break up the meat until it looses all pink color and fat is rendered. Drain and discard fat. Combine chopped tomato pulp, uncooked rice, garlic, basil, parsley, cheese, cooked crumbled sausage, and add salt and freshly ground pepper.

Liberally oil a 9x12 oven- proof baking pan with 2 Tablespoons of the oil and put tomato shells inside. Stuff each with tomato mixture and then top with their reserved tops. Pour over any reserved tomato juice and dribble 2 tablespoons olive oil over the tops.

Bake at 400 for about 55 – 60 minutes or until rice is just tender and tops of tomatoes are nicely browned. Cool in pan , serving when still warm. Serves 8

Find more great garden-inspired recipes in
Renee's Cookbooks:
Recipes from a Kitchen Garden
More Recipes from a Kitchen Garden

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