5 medium perfectly-ripe yummy tomatoes
5 medium green peppers
3⁄4 cup olive oil
13 tablespoons uncooked rice (really just a 'heaping' tablespoon per vegetable to be stuffed)
1 large onion, chopped fine (about 1 1/2 cups)
3 garlic cloves, minced very fine
1⁄4 cup fresh spearmint, minced (1 1/2 tblsps dried, crumbled)
1⁄2 cup parsley, minced
1⁄2 cup pine nuts or 1⁄2 cup slivered almonds
1⁄2 cup hard mizithra cheese or 1⁄2 cup kefalograviera cheese or 1⁄2 cup parmesan cheese, cut into tiny cubes
1⁄2 cup sultana raisin
1 teaspoon salt
1⁄2 teaspoon pepper
1 1⁄2 cups water
1⁄2 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon tomato paste
salt and pepper
Cut off tops of tomatoes (retain tops) and carefully scoop out flesh (retain this as well).
Cut off tops of peppers (retain tops) and remove seeds and membrane.
Place tomatoes and peppers in a pan large enough to hold them comfortably and give each veg a tiny dash of sugar with the tips of your fingertips (I really think this is important!).
Take tomato flesh and process it until pureed.
Add olive oil, rice, onion, garlic, mint, parsley, nuts, cheese, sultanas, 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper (or season to taste).
Stuff the vegetables evenly with this mixture.
Replace tops of tomatoes and peppers.
Combine 1 cup of water and 1/2 cup olive oil with a scant tablespoonful of tomato paste and a little salt and pepper and pour this around the veg.
Bake in a preheated 375F oven (180C) for approx 1 3/4 hours (vegetables should pierce easily and be slightly blackened in parts).
Turn off oven and leave in for another hour to'mellow' before serving.
This is best served slightly warm or at room temperature.
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Our second day started very early, after breakfast we met Maria and Fabio for a drive to the Vatican city.