Monday, January 23, 2012

Pesto Stuffed Tomatoes

pesto stuffed tomatoes

After all the heavy (and delicious) comfort food of the holidays, I've been feeling a desperate need to eat a little lighter and have something slightly summery. I made some pesto the other night for baked chicken and these yummy stuffed tomatoes are what I did with the extra.

To make it super quick, you can definitely use store bought pesto (but I never really like it as much). But, if you're feelin' frisky and have a few extra minutes, here's my pesto recipe:

2 c. firmly packed basil leaves (I've also used 1 c. basil and 1 c. spinach... so yummy and ups the health factor)
3/4 c. grated Parm cheese (for me this is usually a rounded 3/4 c. ... I like the cheese. What?!?)
1/4 c. nuts (traditional pesto is made with pine nuts, but I use pecans because that's what I have in my freezer)
1/2 c. olive oil
3 cloves garlic

Jshushe all this up in a blender or food processor and voila! you've got pesto!

pesto immersion blender

I just got this new immersion blender/food processor combo thing for Christmas. It's mostly for making soups but this attachment came in handy for the pesto and its WAAAY easier to clean than my blender. Thanks Mom!

Now here's the skinny on the tomatoes.

tomato basil mozzarella

Pesto Stuffed Tomatoes
4 - 6 tomatoes (I like vine-ripened, but romas work ok, too)
1/2 c. pesto
1/2 - 1 c. grated mozzarella cheese (depending on how cheesy you are, I mean how much cheese you like)

pesto stuffed tomato

Crank up the broiler in your oven.

Step 1. Halve the tomatoes (if you use romas, make sure to cut them longways so they will sit flat in the pan).

Step 2. Scoop out the insides, seeds and all.

Step 3. Add your pesto to the tomato guts.

Step 4. Chop up the chunks and mix this concoction together.

**Add salt and pepper to taste at this point.**

pesto stuffed tomato

Step 5. Spoon the tomato and pesto mixture back into the tomato halves and place on baking sheet. Something with sides is necessary because A LOT of juice runs out of these babies. I even make a little pan-inside-a-pan from aluminum foil to keep the juice from sloshing all over my oven when I get the pan out.

Step 6. Add mozzarella cheese to top of each tomato half.

Step 7. (not shown) Broil tomatoes for 5 to 8 minutes (depending on ripeness of tomato).

Step 8. Chow down!

pesto stuffed tomato

I love this recipe along side pretty much anything, but my favorite is sitting it next to a steak. Something about the cooked, warm tomato and its juice mixing with the juicy, almost rare, yumminess of my steak. I don't know. That's my fave.

Are you craving lighter, summer food? Got any good recipes to share to beat the cold, dreary weather? I know its Vegas but its 45 and rainy out. We (sort of) have winter here, too! I'm making my favorite tomato soup tonight with grilled cheese. Talk about comfort food!

Linking up to:

Home Stories A to Z
Crafty Confessions
Serenity Now Weekend Bloggy Reading

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