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~ Summer Squash & Saffron Rice Stuffed Tomatoes~

IMG_0351Summer tomatoes and Summer squash.  These two pure and simple Summer "vegetables" (botanically both are "vine-fruit" because they are the receptacle for the seeds of the plant) are two of my favorite August things to eat.  It has nothing to do with eating healthy, I just plain love them -- I'd love them even if they weren't healthy.  If you grow your own in your backyard you know you've got a lot of both right now.  If you don't grow your own, after one quick inexpensive trip to your local farmers market, and the time it takes to cook some rice, couscous or quinoa, you can have this simple, super-delicious, side-dish on your dinner table in almost no time!

IMG_04342 cups sauted squash + 2 cups steamed rice + 6 tomato shells:

IMG_0226That is it.  That is all you will need to prepare this side-dish!

IMG_9960My Motto:  Almost anything tastes better with a tomato and almost anything tastes better in a tomato!  

In the event you've never stuffed a tomato before, you're definitely going to want to click on the Related Article link below to learn ~ How to:  Hollow Out Tomatoes for Stuffing Them ~.  In the event you're familiar with this technique, you might want to browse over it quickly -- just to compare your method with my tips.

IMG_0449~ Step 1.  Hollow out:

6  large, ripe (not overly ripe), round, firm, even-sized tomatoes

~ Step 2.  Prepare as directed and cool to room temperature:

1  10-ounce package IMG_0161Vigo Spanish-Style Saffron Yellow Rice Mix (Note:  This will be about twice as much rice as you will need to stuff 6 large tomatoes.)

~ Step 3.  Prepare and cool to room temperature, my (Just click on the Related Article link below to get the recipe.):

Pure & Simple:  Summer Squash (Zucchini) Saute (Note:  This will be about twice as much saute as you will need to stuff 6 large tomatoes.)

IMG_0234Note before getting started:  The tomato shells, the rice, and, the squash saute can all be prepared a day in advance and refrigerated overnight.  How convenient is that!

~ Step 4.  Using an ordinary tablespoon, place about 6 tablespoons of rice in each tomato shell.  Lightly press the rice down, but do not compact or stuff it.  Add more rice to each shell, if needed, to fill each one half way.

IMG_0270 IMG_0255~ Step 5. Using your fingertips, place and arrange overlapping layers of squash over the rice until nicely mounded up and over the top of each tomato. Lightly season tops with sea salt. Note:  I know I am overly-compulsive, but, if you take the time to carefully and decoratively place the squash on top, it will make for a very pretty presentation!

Bake on center rack of 325 degree oven...

IMG_0259... for 20-22 minutes.  Do not overcook.

IMG_0302Squash should be wilted and lightly browned.

Tomato shells should be a bit bubbly but not blistered:

IMG_0315Cool in pan for 5-10 minutes.

Tomato skins will wrinkle as they cool:

IMG_0327A perfectly executed steaming hot stuffed tomato:

IMG_0418Summer Squash & Saffron Rice Stuffed Tomatoes:  Recipe yields 6 side-servings.

Special Equipment List:  serrated paring knife; grapefruit knife; grapefruit spoon; paper towels; standard-sized muffin tin; 2-quart saucepan; spoon; 12" skillet; spatula

IMG_8827Cook's Note:  While these stuffed tomatoes go great with a piece of grilled chicken or steak, my favorite food to serve them with is fish -- particularly white fish.  Just click on the Related Article link below to get ~ Mel's 30-Minute "Brain Food" Meal:  Broiled Cod w/Spicy Saffron Rice, Peas & Stewed Tomato Sauce ~!

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2014) 


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