Mozzarella & Pesto Stuffed Tomatoes

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The brief history behind these delights is quite simple. I had a party coming up and decided I wanted to serve stuffed tomatoes. I had never made them before (actually, to be quite honest, I didn’t know anyone who had ever made them before) but I loved the idea, and thought they would fit my theme perfectly. But I didn’t have a recipe, so I went on a hunt. I searched the internet, and sure enough, in seconds I had hundreds of stuffed tomato recipes to choose from. I narrowed it down to certain ingredients, and started reading them all. I soon found I was disappointed. I couldn’t find the perfect combination that epitomized my taste, or my party. I wanted something simple (that seemed obvious to me since stuffed tomatoes aren’t usually your main course, so why would you want to spend all day preparing your appetizer? – DUH!) and something that sounded delicious. Apparently this was too much to ask. So I abandoned the internet and set out to make the perfect stuffed tomato. Based on the reviews I have received on these little beauties I think I did it! The only challenge I find is not eating them all before the company comes.

These are so simple there are only three real components:

The Tomato:

Okay, so I know it’s tradition to use cherry tomatoes for appetizers, but I have issues with that concept. First of all, that’s a lot of work for the tiny bite of food that you get, and second, there are better tomatoes out there. Oh don’t get me wrong, I love cute diminutive cherry tomatoes on top of my salad as much as the next girl but when used as a standalone food there are tastier options. WB 053

Personally, I love the vine ripened Campari tomato. They average about the size of a golf ball, so they are good for two or three good bites. The larger size also makes them easier to empty and re-stuff. Campari’s are juicy, and have a higher sugar level than other tomatoes. This makes them sweeter and less acidic. Their deep red color is gorgeous, and they aren’t overly farinaceous, or mealy in texture, which is a plus for me. I think they are absolutely perfect! And you can get lucky sometimes and find them at Sams and Costco. Yay!

The Mozzarella:

Mozzarella is mozzarella, right? Well yes, and no. I don’t think it matters much which brand you choose, just pick your favorite. I use low-moisture part-skim, because that’s what I like. As much as I love fresh mozzarella, I opted out for this recipe due to flavor and texture. What I did find that makes a big difference, however, is dicing the cheese. Chopping the mozzarella into small cubes instead of grating it allows for a richer flavor and creamier texture. WB 061

The Pesto:

This is where the “simple” comes in. You can slave all day making your own pesto, or you can find a great sauce already made. That’s what I do, shh! I’ve tried a dozen different pesto sauces, some of them imported directly from Italy, but believe it or not I found one that rivals the best of them right in my own Sams Club! The Members Mark brand is beautiful. It is made modestly with good ingredients: olive oil, basil, romano and parmesan cheeses, garlic and pine nuts. Delicious!WB 028

So what made me think of this triple combination? I don’t know, except I recognized that with these three you couldn’t go wrong!

The Recipe:

1 ½ cups diced mozzarella

¾ cup pesto

2 lbs. (aprox. 20) Campari tomatoes

Salt

Core the tomatoes with a small melon baller or fruit corer. Rinse out the seeds and sprinkle salt into the tomatoes. Turn upside down onto a paper towel, and refrigerate until filling is ready. This gives them time to drain and the salt helps eliminate excess moisture. Mix the pesto with the mozzarella, and use a baby spoon to fill the tomatoes. Serve immediately or refrigerate beforehand. Mangia! Enjoy.

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Emily

Comments

  1. Christene says

    Anyone who's had the pleasure of nibbling these ruby red delights knows how delicious and addictive they are. I'm so glad to have the recipe! They're a surefire winner at any party.

  2. Raech says

    These were absolutely FABULOUS!!! I had a tea-party themed 1st birthday yesterday and everyone LOVED these – even my 10 year olds! I can’t believe how tasty these were, with only the pesto and mozzarella. Thank you for this recipe. This will definitely be something we use again and again. (My husband was VERY excited this morn when I told him he could take the last two. Pretty funny.)

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