by Francesca Patterson

There is something that needs to be said, and I could be biased, but the tomatoes we have at Norman’s this summer have to be the best tomatoes ever. If you have even driven by one of our stands, you have surely noticed the giant, bright red tomatoes we have by the crateload. They taste as magnificent as they look. The variety is technically called Scarlet Red, but I have nicknamed them “BLT Tomatoes” because they are made for one of those.
I was so excited to try using some of these big tomatoes for one of my all-time favorite dinner recipes. This is another one my mom brought home with her from her years of when we lived in Italy, and the flavor is so simple but foolproof. Admittedly, I was the pickiest eater until just a couple of years ago. This dish is one of the only ways I would eat tomatoes, and it would get me to eat the whole entire thing. It tastes great with any old tomato but absolutely delicious with these self-proclaimed Best Tomatoes Ever. This is an easy recipe to throw in the oven while making whatever protein or salad you plan to have with it. As what seems to be a pattern with my style of cooking, this dish doubles as amazing cold leftovers the next day.  



  • 2-3 large red tomatoes, approximately the same size 
  • Arborio rice 
  • 1 large (or 4 small) cloves of garlic (diced) 
  • 1/4 cup of fresh basil 
  • salt
  • olive oil



  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees 

  2. Slice off the top of the tomatoes and spoon out the insides, being careful to not tear through the skin with your spoon. The tomato should still have about a 1/4 inch of skin around it to create a bowl. Set the tomato pulp aside in a bowl. Sprinkle olive oil and salt on top and inside of the tomatoes. 

  3. Food process tomato pulp with basil, garlic, and about a tbsp more olive oil until mixture is completely smooth.

  4. Depending on how much purée you make, add half cup Arborio rice to a cup of purée. Add in a dash of salt. Fill the tomatoes with this mixture of rice and purée, then place the tops of the tomatoes back on. 

  5. Position in Small dutch oven or baking dish, add a half cup of water. Tinfoil the top and/or cover if possible. 

  6. Bake for 1 hour, and serve using a spatula to lift tomatoes out of the dish. 




  1. Can’t wait to try this 😁

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