Although our nearest blood-family is three states away, I’m blessed to have a very dear friend that I call my brother, who has been looking out for me for well over a decade. Billy is not only my brother and best friend, he’s also JJ’s godfather, David’s bad-joke sounding board, and an excellent cook. Whenever Billy comes to visit, he tolerates my bossy kitchen voice, puts on an apron, and we cook together. Sometimes it’s elaborate, sometimes it isn’t, but it’s always comforting and joyful.
When Billy visited last Sunday, after much Pinterest and deliberation, we settled on chicken scallopini with fresh passata, cream, and sundried tomatoes, served over some fancy looking squiggly three coloured pasta that I can’t for the life of me remember the name of.
But I had a whole lot of tomatoes.
So we made these stuffed tomatoes with pesto and mozzarella.
These are so absolutely simple that I’m almost embarrassed to “give” you the recipe. We did make the pesto ourselves with fresh basil and raw cashews, but it would be just as delicious if you bought the pesto from the store.
If you want to make your own basil and cashew pesto from scratch, you barely need a recipe. Just throw two large handfuls of fresh basil into a food processor with half a cup of raw cashews, and a quarter cup of finely grated parmesan or pecorino. Drizzle in some extra virgin olive oil and pulse, adding oil until a thick slightly chunky paste is formed. I add a little salt and a few drops of lemon juice, but this is up to you.
The secret to stuffing tomatoes without loosing too much flesh is simply to take out the seeds. Just scoop the seeds and excess juice out of a halved tomato with a teaspoon, leaving the fleshy tomato innards in tact.
Here is a picture of the tomato halves before we scooped the seeds. Make sure you cut horizontally across the tomato.
Once the tomatoes have had their seeds removed, pop the halves (bottom down) into a heavy bottomed dish with a little olive oil and season very well with salt and ground pepper.
Fill the tomato halves with the cashew pesto and top with mozzarella. You could use sliced bocconcini, but we only had grated on hand.
JJ grabbed one of these and ate it raw, hence there are only five left in this picture.
Roast at about 200c until the tomatoes are tender and the cheese is golden.
So tasty and good for you too!
I’m not sure if these are too delicious to eat on Fridays during Lent, which raises an interesting question. Do you restrict “tasty foods” on Friday’s during lent?
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