Gluten-free, Pasta, Pizza, Risotto, Special Diets, Vegan/Vegetarian

Pomodori con Riso (Italian Rice Stuffed Tomatoes)

Nicoletta October 13, 2018

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Pomodori con Riso (Italian Rice Stuffed Tomatoes) is a classic Italian dish, more specifically from Rome. It is a tasty, vegan, full meal just as good eaten warm, cold, or at room temperature. The rice cooks inside the tomatoes and the potatoes are on the side, getting billowy delicious from the juices of the tomatoes.

Song of the day: Zero – Imagine Dragons.

Pomodori con Riso e Patate al Forno

I needed bright colors, fresh flavors, familiar smells, the comfort of home. The kiss of the sunshine rays on my skin.

I needed a recipe like this Pomodori con Riso (Italian Rice Stuffed Tomatoes): a lingering of the Italian summer in my mouth.


Pomodori con Riso, a taste of home

It is the flavor of my memories, but it is also the scent of basil, garlic, parsley, and oregano, combined with the aroma of sweet tomatoes.

This is my mother’s recipe, minus the chunk of cheese she would put in the tops’ center, after removing the stem. It is the one she’s been making for decades, at the end of Summer/beginning of Fall, when the tomatoes are gorgeously ripe, big, and sweet. When you can’t imagine a better meal than having oven-baked rice stuffed tomatoes, with a side of potatoes. For lunch or supper, warm or cold, at home, or in one of the many places they sell it already cooked, it does not alter the fact that it is incredibly amazing.

Pomodori con Riso e Patate al forno Pomodori con Riso e Patate al forno

In Rome, when in season, you can find this dish everywhere, it is so iconic that it can steal the show to some of the most famous Pasta Cacio e Pepe and Carbonara.

It is an easy dish with a few but very specific ingredients, for a good result

  • Tomatoes: not all tomatoes are created equal. In Rome, the type of tomatoes you use to make this dish is called “pomodori da riso“, that means “rice tomatoes” as if their only purpose is to be stuffed with rice and oven baked. Usually attached to the vine, fairly big and round, ripe but not too ripe, firm, plump, not too seedy, and sweet. Since I am not in Rome, but in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, I used the ones that seemed closer to what I would find there: Beefsteak tomatoes.
  • Rice: also the rice has to be the right one. Since it cooks inside the tomatoes, you need one that is going to cook just right, not overcooked, not too al dente. Arborio is the most frequent choice, I used Originario, both can be found at your local Italian store. The ratio is 1 tablespoon of rice per tomato and you need 1-2 hours for the rice to soak in the tomato/herb pulp.
  • Potatoes: you will always see potatoes surrounding rice stuffed tomatoes. They have a double function, they soak the juices from the tomatoes, and in doing that they become the best side dish ever. Billowy, flavorful, soft yet having some crispy edges, they also give you an indication of when your tomatoes are ready. When they’re ready, usually the tomatoes are too. Yellow potatoes are the best, we used our homegrown red potatoes. Their white flesh was a little too soft and starchy, but nonetheless pretty good.
  • Herbs: basil, oregano, parsley, mingle with minced garlic, salt, pepper, and olive oil, to create a tasty backdrop for the tomato pulp and a wonderful environment for the rice to cook.

Pomodori con Riso e Patate al fornoPomodori con Riso e Patate al forno

Follow the steps in the recipe and within a few hours, you can enjoy a taste of Rome.

Pomodori con Riso

The tomatoes get all cracked, wrinkled, and caramelized. The rice has absorbed all those flavorful juices and is perfectly cooked, with just a slight bite to it. The potato aroma is heavenly, it makes you want to just dive right in and eat your way out. Each bite has a beautiful array of texture, keeping each mouthful delightful and delicious.

Give these Pomodori con Riso (Italian Rice Stuffed Tomatoes) a try, I’m sure you’ll become a big fan, too!

Song of the day: Zero – Imagine Dragons.

Pomodori con Riso e Patate al Forno

Pomodori con Riso (Italian Rice Stuffed Tomatoes)

  • Author: Nicoletta
  • Prep Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Main, Vegan/Vegetarian
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: Italian


Pomodori con Riso (Italian Rice Stuffed Tomatoes) is a classic Italian dish, more specifically from Rome. It is a tasty, vegan, full meal just as good eaten warm, cold, or at room temperature. The rice cooks inside the tomatoes and the potatoes are on the side, getting billowy delicious from the juices of the tomatoes.


  • 4 big, round, tomatoes
  • 4 Tbsp rice (Riso Arborio or Originario)
  • 4 potatoes
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • a few leaves of fresh basil, chopped
  • a pinch of dry oregano
  • some parsley, fresh or frozen, chopped
  • 4 Tbsp e.v.o. oil
  • salt & pepper


  1. Wash and dry the tomatoes, then with a sharp knife, cut the tops off and set aside.  You will use them to cover the tomatoes before placing in the oven.
  2. Over a bowl with a small knife and a spoon, carefully remove the pulp inside the tomatoes, paying attention not to poke a hole in the tomatoes. Remove any parts of the core that are hard. Put the tomatoes upside down on a plate, so that they can lose any excess of water. Mince the pulp, or blend it in a food processor.
  3.  Add the rice to the pulp. Season with salt, pepper, 1 Tbsp olive oil, minced garlic, oregano, parsley, and basil. Mix everything well. Leave it in the fridge to macerate for 1-2 hours, so that the rice can absorb the juices well.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350° F (180° C) and peel the potatoes. Cut them in small wedges, place them into a baking dish and season with 2 Tbsp olive oil, salt, and pepper.
  5. Season the inside of each tomato with a pinch of salt, then fill with the rice mixture, without overfilling. Season the inside of the top of the tomatoes, and place on top.
  6. Place the stuffed tomatoes in the baking dish among the potatoes. Drizzle the remaining 1 Tbsp olive oil over everything.
  7. Bake in the preheated oven for approximately 1 hour. Check every now and then to see how the rice is cooking, basting the inside of the tomatoes with the juices that are the bottom, and turning the potatoes so they don’t stick. At the 45-minute mark, I turned up the oven to 400° F (200°C). My stuffed tomatoes were ready after 1 hour and 10 minutes.
  8. Turn off oven and leave in oven for 5-10 minutes.
  9. Serve hot or at room temperature. Even cold they are great.


Every oven is different, as are the tomatoes and the rice you are using, so your rice stuffed tomatoes may take less or longer to bake. Check them after 45 minutes, turning the potatoes and basting the tomatoes with the juices that are forming in the pan.

The rice is supposed to have a bite, stay “al dente”, and the potatoes are billowy and flavorful from the juices.

The prep time includes the 2 hours the rice soaks in the tomato pulp in the fridge.

Better to use a smaller baking dish, where the tomatoes and potatoes can sit closer together.

Leftovers can be kept in the fridge for a couple of days and reheated before serving.

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Pomodori con Riso

These are delicious Pomodori con Riso we had in Rome

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  • Avatar
    Reply Kathy @ Beyond the Chicken Coop October 14, 2018 at 8:57 am

    These stuffed tomatoes sound amazing. I have several large tomatoes from our last garden harvest of the year that are just waiting to be used.

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta October 14, 2018 at 8:59 am

      I can just imagine how good it can be using tomatoes from your garden! Enjoy and thank you so much for your comment.

  • Avatar
    Reply Margaret@Kitchen Frau October 14, 2018 at 10:38 am

    You make this simple dish sound soo comforting. I love this kind of food. We’ve still got some garden tomatoes ripening in our basement – I will try this for sure.

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta October 15, 2018 at 7:43 am

      It is comforting and so delicious, Margaret, in its simplicity. I love those flavors, they bring me back home. Hope you try it and love it!

  • Avatar
    Reply Milena October 15, 2018 at 1:09 pm

    What a perfect meal! I say this as one of the world’s biggest home grown tomatoes fans. There is nothing more dear to me than a fragrant, plump, deliciously ripe tomato, such as you do not see often here in the US. Such a fabulous dish, I really mean it.
    PS. Waiting for the baked grapes and rosemary bread recipe… I’d sprinkle some feta crumbs on top and eat the whole sheet pan by myself.

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta October 15, 2018 at 1:28 pm

      Thank you, Milena, it is such a delicious comforting dish! I can see the sprinkle of feta on top. In my mom’s version, there is always a piece of cheese on top 😉 .

  • Avatar
    Reply Colleen October 15, 2018 at 7:16 pm

    OMG. This dish sounds absolutely delicious and unlike anything I’ve ever tried. I love the potatoes in there, soaking up all the juices. I was practically drooling over those photos. We are still harvesting our garden tomatoes here in the Okanagan, so I’m making this!

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto October 16, 2018 at 1:34 pm

      Hi Collen, love the drooling part. Makes me feel like we are doing our job well. That is fantastic that you are still harvesting tomatoes. This is a great recipe to feature those lovely round ripe, juicy fruits. You are so right about the potatoes. When they get all that flavor steaming and caressing them, it makes for an esquisite experience, texturally and taste wise.
      Thanks a bunch for thhe lovely comment!

  • Avatar
    Reply Jo Vanderwolf October 16, 2018 at 11:48 am

    Oooooh! I have a bunch of tomatoes ripening on my window sill that I was wondering what to do with. Now I know! Thank you for sharing. This looks divine. 🙂

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto October 16, 2018 at 1:36 pm

      Thank you Jo, don’t let them get too ripe or they won’t hold all that delicious rice in.
      Above all else, have fun!

  • Avatar
    Reply Mimi October 19, 2018 at 8:32 am

    THESE are fabulous. And I need to find this rice; I’ve never heard of it. I’ve made risotto filled tomatoes before, which were really good, but I love the idea of the filling cooking inside the tomatoes!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta October 19, 2018 at 9:44 am

      Thank you, Mimi! They are so simple yet so incredibly tasty. You can use Arborio, it works really well. Make sure there are enough juices from the tomatoes to cook the rice inside. Enjoy!

      • Avatar
        Reply Wendy Fages May 28, 2019 at 4:35 am

        Hello Nicoletta,
        I have many tomates en grappe that will be perfect but they are medium tomatoes. Do I reduce the cooking time a bit? And I’ll serve 2 each rather than 1.

        • Nicoletta
          Reply Nicoletta May 28, 2019 at 7:00 am

          Yes, reduce the time for sure. I would check them once in a while, still basting the inside with the juices and taste the rice for donness- If they’re on the smaller side, yes serve two.

          • Avatar
            Wendy Fages May 28, 2019 at 9:05 am

            Thanks, so would you say to 45 minutes? That would almost be enough for the potatoes

          • Nicoletta
            Nicoletta May 28, 2019 at 9:22 am

            Probably. You can always take out the tomatoes if they’re done, and leave the potatoes a little longer if you see they need more time to cook.

  • Avatar
    Reply Lisa October 19, 2018 at 7:01 pm

    I love the rustic homey look of this dish and it sounds so simply comforting.

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto October 22, 2018 at 5:09 am

      Thank you Lisa. One thing for certain this is a very comforting dish. Those flavors make you feel warm and fuzzy inside, and there will definately be jubilations of delight on your pallet!

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