Jewish cuisine overflows with stuffed vegetables (dolmas), whether they be grape or cabbage leaves of vegetables like bell peppers, zucchini, pumpkin, and tomatoes. Stuffed vegetables serve as both side and main dishes, and are especially enjoyed during Sukkot, where they symbolize abundance. This is a comforting cheesy-rice version of stuffed tomatoes.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and oil a nine by nine inch baking dish.
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, warm a layer of oil. Add the onion and rice and cook, stirring frequently, until onion softens slightly, one to three minutes. Add the water. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to low. Simmer without stirring for 15 minutes or until most liquid is absorbed.
Turn off the heat. Remove the lid and stir in the salt, pepper, ricotta, feta, cayenne, and 1/2 cup of Parmesan. Season to taste and cool slightly.
Fill the tomatoes with the rice mixture and place them in the baking dish. Sprinkle with Parmesan. Bake for about 30 minutes, until the tomatoes are soft and the topping is lightly browned. Serve warm.
Garnish with a drizzle of pesto.
Excerpt from The Essential Jewish Cookbook, by Marcia Friedman, published by Rockridge Press. Copyright © 2021 by Callisto Media, Inc. All rights reserved.
Photography by Sarah Husney