Saturday, 13 August 2016

Recipes from Rome - Pomodori al Riso


We first ate pomodori al riso as a take-out from Roscioli 2. This is not the famous Roscioli restaurant, where tomatoes also play a staring role in the divine burratta and semi-sun dried tomato dish that is served here.



Nor indeed is it Forno Roscioli, opposite the restaurant, which is my favourite place in the city to buy freshly baked pizza bianca as well as pizza al taglio for a great lunchtime snack.



Both of these are located slap bang in the middle of central Rome, close to Campo di Fiori. Roscioli 2 is located further away in the Esquiline district , but is easily reached by taking Metro line A to Vittorio Emanuele then the short walk to Via Buonarotti 48.
It is thanks to Elizabeth Minchilli that we found this 'other' Roscioli. It is owned by the uncle of the brothers who run the more well known emporiums but the food here is every bit as good. The 'tavola calda' or prepared hot food is amazing and well worth the short journey out of the centre. Hence our trip to pick up pomodori al riso, which benefit from being served at room temperature, giving us plenty of time to head back to our roof terrace to enjoy lunch outdoors.



To prepare this dish at home, the best recipe I have found comes, not surprisingly, from Rachel Roddy.



The recipe is included in Rachel's gorgeous cook book 'Five Quarters' but I first made it from Rachel's blog 'Rachel Eats'
Of course, if we were in Rome we would have the pick of fragrant tomatoes from a local market stall.



We have to manage with our local Waitrose, although their 'Limited Selection' tomatoes are equally fragrant (although much more expensive than a Roman market!)



Other ingredients are garlic, oregano, risotto rice, extra-virgin olive oil, potatoes and salt & pepper.



The tops need to be cut off the tomatoes (they will be needed later as 'lids'), then the flesh removed and set aside. Sprinkle each tomato with salt then place them cut side down on kitchen paper.



Blitz the tomato flesh and add the chopped garlic, oregano, rice, olive oil and salt & pepper.




Rachel uses fresh basil in her recipe but I substituted dried oregano for two reasons. First, I didn't have any fresh basil (!) & secondly, I love any excuse to use this particular dried oregano.



It comes from a favourite store of ours in Monti, another Elizabeth Minchilli recommendation  - Delizie di Calabria. As the name suggests they specialise in products from Calabria, their buffalo mozzarella is particularly good.



And now, as Rachel says, it is 'best to wait'



At this point, while the garlicy tomato mixture is soaking into the rice, you can chop the potatoes. I prefer cubes but Rachel suggests matchsticks - you choose whichever 'floats your boat'. 
Coat the potatoes in olive oil & sprinke with salt.


Lightly grease an ovenproof dish. I love this part of any recipe as it is a reason for using my stash of butter papers that permanantly reside in the fridge.



Place the tomato cases in the buttered dish, fill with the tomato & rice mixture, pop the lids on then surround with your potato cubes/matchsticks.



Bake for around one hour to one hour, fifteen minutes and then (and this is VITAL!) let them rest for at least half an hour.


Enjoy

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