Stuffed tomatoes are a hearty and healthy dish that is full of flavor! Filled with meat, veggies, and rice, they are reminiscent of a Shepherds pie but the tomatoes serve as a much healthier base instead of a crust. The light flavors of the sauce soaked up in the rice pairs deliciously with the melted mozzarella and fills you up comfortably. While this dish does take a bit more time, it is well worth it when you take the steaming hot tomatoes out of the oven and dig into their crispy, creamy, saucy goodness!
First, wash the tomatoes then gently slice the tops off. With a spoon, carefully start hollowing out the tomatoes, making sure to leave the walls thick enough to not split but still empty enough to hold enough sauce. Make sure to set aside the insides since we will use these for the sauce!
In a large saucepan, start heating up some olive oil on medium-low heat. Mince up the carrots, celery, and onion and then add them to the pan when it is hot enough. Let the vegetables fry until they are browned, then add in the ground turkey. While the turkey is cooking, use a blender to mix up the leftover tomato insides. Blend it together until everything is mixed, it should be light pinkish in color.
Once the turkey is cooked, add the blended tomato mixture as well as the ½ cup of tomato sauce. Add salt, pepper, and basil to taste and mix everything together.
Now, add the Arborio rice into the sauce, mix well, turn the heat down to a simmer and cover the saucepan. Let the rice cook in the sauce for about 30-35 minutes.
While the rice is cooking, preheat the oven to 360°. Take a small casserole dish and lightly oil the bottom and sides. Place the hollowed out tomatoes inside the dish and lightly drizzle the insides with olive oil.
Once the rice has cooked into the sauce more (it can be a little crunchy inside too, it will cook more in the oven) take it off the heat and let it cool for 1-2 minutes.
Take a heaping spoonful of the sauce and gently plop inside of the tomatoes. Pat the sauce down a little bit, then take a few chunks of mozzarella and stick them gently inside of the tomatoes, then cover with another layer or two of sauce until it reaches the top.
Grate some Parmesan in a layer on top of the tomatoes, drizzle with more olive oil, then put the dish inside the oven and let them cook for about 35-45 minutes. The tomatoes should start to wrinkle, and may even split a bit, and the Parmesan should be nice and crispy on top.
Take them out of the oven, let cool for a minute or two and then carefully transfer the tomatoes to a plate. Sprinkle some salt and pepper on top and enjoy!