- 4 medium tomatoes
- 1/2 cup milk
- One 2-inch piece of crustless baguette, torn into 1/2-inch pieces
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- 1/2 pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
- 1 cup shredded romaine lettuce
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley
- 2 tablespoons chopped basil
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- Preheat the oven to 400°. Cut the top third off each tomato and reserve. Scoop out the seeds and flesh from the tomatoes, leaving thin but sturdy walls. Sprinkle the tomato shells with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and turn them upside down on a rack to drain for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, warm the milk in a small saucepan. Remove from the heat and add the bread. In a medium skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the onion and cook over moderate heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the sausage and cook, breaking up the pieces with a wooden spoon, until browned and no longer pink inside, about 8 minutes. Add the lettuce and cook until wilted, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat and let cool.
- Remove the bread from the milk and squeeze dry. Add the bread, parsley, basil and eggs to the sausage mixture and stir to combine. Season with 1 teaspoon of salt and the pepper.
- Set the drained tomato shells in a gratin dish and fill with the stuffing, mounding it slightly. Set the tomato lids on top. Drizzle the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil over the tomatoes and bake for about 20 minutes, or until the tomatoes begin to collapse and wrinkle. Serve hot or at room temperature.
The stuffed tomatoes, cooked or uncooked, can be refrigerated overnight.
A medium-bodied, inexpensive red with good fruit and herb and spice flavors will complement the herby sausage filling. Choose a Merlot-Malbec blend from Cahors, or a Merlot.