Steady as we go.
That’s the mantra that’s been running through my head the last few days. Steady and go. Steady and keep on.
I mean… I’ve definitely also stress-cleaned my closet. I’ve definitely also reached for that third cup of coffee when I CERTAINLY know better. I’ve also lost my patience and cried in the car over a Kasey Musgraves song. NEVERTHELESS… steady as we go. Come back to center.
I’ve felt… well, at the end of things lately. The end of a season. The end of yoga school. The end of some relationships. And these times of transition call for more steadiness… because otherwise it’s just too many tortilla chips and wines.
I realized today that this tomato recipe I whipped up a few weeks ago speaks to that steadiness. It exists between seasons, too – using late summer tomatoes stuffed with cheese and herbs, wrapped and short roasted (I feel like I’m a week from only roasting everything). There’s a freshness and groundedness to the dinner that feels, well… steady. Steady and comforting and here we go.
You might know that I like to stuff a tomato. See also: Cajun Stuffed Tomatoes over Creamy Grits.
Here’s what you’ll need!
• Tomatoes – ripe but firm, round and fragrant. You’ll find some good ones.
• Ricotta cheese – we’ll herb it up with fresh basil and fresh oregano.
• Breadcrumbs – I like a the sort with the Italian seasoning for this recipe – adds an extra little kick.
• An egg to bind.
• A sheet of all-butter puff pastry. I love the brand Dufour because they’re pastry comes in a square sheet that been folded into quarters which is perfect for this recipe.
We’ll start by mixing together the simple ricotta filling.
It starts where you might expect – with ricotta in a bowl.
We’ll add shredded fresh basil along with coarsely chopped fresh oregano.
Add the breadcrumbs along with the whole egg.
Both will help bind the filling inside the tomato.
Salt and pepper – I think at least three big pinches of both are appropriate.
Stir the filling together to thoroughly combine the breadcrumbs and the egg.
Let’s holler at these tomatoes.
We’ll slice the top 1/2 inch off of each tomato.
With a small spoon, scoop out most of the tomato guts and core. We’ve got to make space for all of that ricotta goodness.
Spoon the ricotta into the tomatoes. Actually, stuff it in there. We want to fill each tomato to the top.
Set these gems aside and we’ll get to the puff pastry.
You can find puff pastry in the freezer section at the grocery store. I thaw my pastry in the refrigerator the night before I’m going to use it. Allow it to thaw (it’s essential, really) but stay chilled in the fridge. Cold puff pastry is easy puff pastry to work with.
On a lightly floured counter, roll the puff pastry, lightly really – we just want to extent it by about 3/4-inch on all sides.
Slice the puff pastry into four equal pieces.
Pop that tomato right into the center of one piece of puff pastry and brush all four edges with egg wash. That’ll be our glue.
Bring opposite corners together up and over the tomato.
Bring the opposite corners together too and pinch the four points together.
Pinch and press the seams together too, pressing out any air that’s between the tomato and the puff pastry.
Seal and press – that’s the task.
Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and brush all over with egg wash.
I added an extra pinch of sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper. You could too!
These sweet baby dumplings bake for about 30 minutes – until the pastry is puffed and golden. If you lose a few of your seams to the pressure of the oven (aka they break open) – that’s totally fine! They’ll be just as delicious!
Look at this success! A tender tomato stuffed with herby cheese in a crisp butter case? I just tried to think of something better and…. well, pizza… but aside from pizza – there’s nothing – this is the best.
Steady. We’re in it.
Whole Stuffed Tomato Dumplings
- For the Filling:
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 1/3 cup Italian breadcrumbs
- 3 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh basil
- 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh oregano
- 1 large egg
- 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
- To Assemble:
- 4 medium tomatoes
- 1 package all-butter puff pastry (I like Dufour), thawed but still chilled
- 1 large egg beaten with a splash of water for egg wash
- coarse sea salt and cracked black pepper
- Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- Allow the puff pastry to rest chilled in the fridge. Keeping it cold is key.
- In a small bowl stir together ricotta, breadcrumbs, herbs, egg, and salt and pepper. Stir until thoroughly combined.
- Wash whole tomatoes. Slice the top 1/2-inch of the tomatoes off and discard. Use a small spoon to scoop most of the seeds and cuts out of the tomato. You can discard that too.
- Spoon ricotta mixture into the hallowed tomatoes – filling to the top. Set the tomatoes aside.
- Now let’s work with the puff pastry. Lightly flour a work surface. Bring the puff pastry out of the fridge, untold and use a floured rolling pin to roll each side of the puff pastry, extending the dough about 1/2 to 3/4 inch on all sides.
- Use a sharp knife to cut the puff pastry in quarters along the crease lines.
- You’ll work with one piece of pastry at a time. The other three puff pastry pieces can rest on a plate in the refrigerator.
- Place a stuffed tomato into the center of one piece of puff pastry. Brush the edges of the puff pastry lightly with egg wash. This will be our glue.
- Bring opposite corner tips of the pastry together over the tomato. Pinch together. Bring the other opposite corners of the pastry to meet the first two and pinch all together. Firmly pinch all of the edges together, pressing any air out between the pastry and the tomato.
- Place the pastry covered tomato on the prepared baking sheet and continue to wrap the three remaining tomatoes.
- Brush the outsides of each pastry lightly with egg wash, looking for any places in the pastry that aren’t pinched together well. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Bake for 30 to 32 minutes until the pastry is golden and puffed.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 20 minutes before serving. Pastries are best served warm. They can be covered and stored in the refrigerator overnight, reheat in a 300 degree F oven for about 15 minutes.