As is becoming standard-form for me, this dinner was cobbled together from the remnants of my CSA basket. Basil leaves about to wilt, three juicy tomatoes I have been unable to find a proper use for, and two separate zucchini halves (don’t ask why). My first impulse was a light sauté, with olive oil and feta. As delicious as that may have been, Orangette’s rice-stuffed tomatoes are better.
I made numerous substitutions and changes to this recipe. First, I didn’t have Arborio rice, and I doubted that wild rice would work, so I used quinoa instead. I substituted zucchini for potatoes, discarded the breadcrumbs and salt in favour of grated romano, and adjusted the baking time to my temperamental oven. I have made this recipe the way Orangette calls for it to be made, and it is fantastic. The version I’m posting here isn’t quite as decadent (it is quinoa, after all), but it’s a fantastic summer dish. Depending on the size of your tomatoes, you may have extra quinoa, don’t fret!
1 cup quinoa
4-5 basil leaves, chopped
Romano (or another hard salty cheese), grated
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Cut the tops off the tomatoes and carve out the inside flesh with a small spoon. Set the tomatoes aside. Cut the tomato flesh into small pieces, and add it into a pot with the raw quinoa and 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then cover and lower to a simmer for 15-20 minutes. Once the water is all absorbed, take the pot off the heat, add the basil, and fluff the quinoa.
While the quinoa is cooking, slice the zucchini into thin rounds and layer them across the bottom of a lightly oiled casserole dish or baking pan. Drizzle a bit of olive oil on top, and then arrange the tomatoes on top of the zucchini slices. Spoon the quinoa mixture into the tomatoes until they are full. Sprinkle romano cheese over the tomatoes and zucchini. Bake for 50 minutes, until the zucchini begin to brown and the tomato skin begins to wrinkle.