Tomato season is hands down my favorite time of year. Not only do we get perfect, juicy, ripe tomatoes but tomato's best friend basil is also in season. That means that I've been eating caprese really, really often -- as in once a day or more. When the ingredients are fresh there is absolutely nothing better. That's why I was shocked when I finally got sick of caprese last week. I've had more than my fair share this season but I honestly never thought the day would come. I think I just wanted to do something different with tomatoes and basil for a change. That's how my friend and I came up with this recipe, which still incorporates tomato, basil, and of course, cheese.
Next time around I would do a few things slightly differently, this was an idea that turned into a Basil & Ricotta Stuffed Tomato test run. I figured I'd post it anyway and just mention the changes in the post because tomato season is almost over and we are running out of time to take advantage.
First preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Then take some tomatoes (I used large cherry tomatoes, but other sizes would work fine too) and carefully cut out the guts. I used a tomato/strawberry corer and it worked really well. If you use bigger tomatoes just cut them in half lengthwise instead. I didn't do it this time around, but next time I would salt the tomatoes and place them face down on a paper towel to get rid of some of the excess water before stuffing them. That way the end result won't be as watery.
Then make the ricotta mixture by mixing in a handful of basil. We also added a tiny bit of balsamic and some salt and pepper for extra flavor. Lemon juice might be a nice addition as well. The amount of ricotta all depends on the amount and size of tomatoes, just try to estimate.
When you're done filling the tomatoes place them face up in an olive oil coated baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes. When the skin is blistered and the ricotta starts to get golden brown on top they are good go!
After baking the ricotta takes on this amazing spongey texture that is completely irresistible. You can eat these as they are, throw them on a crostini for bruschetta type snack, or use them for a side to a main dish.
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About the authors
Michelle Zippelli is a Boston based hedonist who is committed to finding the best food that Boston has to offer. She has lived in Boston for 6 years and works in online marketing. Michelle loves meatballs, live music, exotic cheeses, Mexican food, spur of the moment dance parties, and all things pickled.
Jacki Morisi is a self-proclaimed bon vivant extraordinaire. A Boston native whose waking hours are exclusively focused on travel, music, food, and fare ... emphasis on food and fare. She's a firm believer that just because you're living on a young professional's budget doesn't mean you have to sacrifice taste, and carries this mantra into each and every dining endeavor.