Saturday, June 18, 2011

Gemistas: Greek Stuffed Tomato Dinner

Tonight's creation is one of my own, with inspiration from a few websites and my own personal tastebud preferences!

Gemistas! - aka stuffed tomatoes. 
(Being a slightly more than carnivorous family, it is EXTREMELY rare to have a vegetarian dinner on the menu - but this one did not disappoint!)

Ingredients (makes 6 Gemistas):

  • 6 medium-large fresh tomatoes (my mom graciously got these from Jane and Paul's Farmstand in Norfolk, MA. So fresh you have to slap them!)
  • 1 cup orzo pasta
  • 1 small onion, chopped (some people in my family don't care for onions, so I chopped them really small so they could be hidden)
  • 2-3 garlic cloves (I went with 3... helps keep away the vampires!)
  • 5 grinds of pepper (about 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoonful)
  • 5 grinds of salt (see above!)
  • Pinch of sugar
  • About 2 teaspoonsful oregano 
  • Potatoes
  • Olive oil

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Rinse the tomatoes and cut about a 1 inch thick slice off the top. Scoop out the pulp and set it aside with the tops (get rid of the hard core part though, that's just useless!
  3. Sprinkle the inside of the tomatoes with some salt, and invert on a paper towel to drain them a little.
  4. Meanwhile, heat some olive oil in a pan, and add the chopped onions and garlic. Cook these until they are slightly translucent and soft (not brown).
  5. Also, cook the orzo according to directions until al dente.
  6. Add the tomato pulp to the pan, turn up the heat a little, and simmer until it is thicker with just a little juice left in the pan.
  7. Your house will smell amazing!
  8. Mix the orzo with tomato/onion/yumminess mixture, and add the spices. (The beauty of adding spices is that you can add more or less of what you want. Being a Greek dish, I favored the oregano, but you can also try basil, parsley, dill or rosemary if that is what your palate craves!)
  9. Spoon mixture into tomatoes (don't pack them down!), place in a slightly oiled baking dish and put the tomato hats on.
  10. Surround the tomatoes with diced potatoes to roast alongside them! (Or any other veggies you like... the potatoes are also helpful in keeping the tomatoes separated in the pan! Again, season according to taste!)
  11. Cook for about 50 minutes... finish under the broiler if you'd like to brown up the tops, and serve with whatever sides you like! 
    • We did a salad, some fabulous feta (always a good choice), and some crusty bread.

So if you're like my family and feel as though you can't go a meal without meat, I encourage you to try this dish - a healthy and filling meal!
As the Greeks say... Kali Orexi! (Bon appetit!)
Picture found here!

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