“My husband, Andreas, is from Crete,” writes Yolanda Paterakis, “and we have a vacation home on the Greek island of Euboea in the Aegean Sea. No matter where we are, we love to entertain our two children, our three grandchildren, and scores of friends. People often come over in the evening for mezedes and ouzo. For these get-togethers, I always prepare quick, simple dishes because my busy schedule demands it; I write children’s and travel books, and I’m the general secretary of the National Society of Greek Writers. I’ve often thought that cooking is like writing a story — always best when you put your heart into it.”
Makes 8 servings.
- 8large firm tomatoes (each 3 to 3 1/2 inches in diameter) 2tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
- 1large onion, chopped
- 1pound ground lamb
- 1/2cup dry red wine
- 1/4cup chopped fresh mint
- 4tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 1/4teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3/4cup cooked long-grain white rice (about 1/4 cup uncooked) 1/4cup plain dry breadcrumbs
- 1/2cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
DIRECTIONS Preheat oven to 350°F. Cut off top third of tomatoes; chop tops and reserve. Scoop out seeds, juice, and pulp from tomatoes and discard.
Melt butter in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté until tender and golden, about 8 minutes. Add lamb and sauté until browned, about 7 minutes. Add chopped tomato tops, wine, mint, 2 tablespoons parsley, and cinnamon. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer until mixture thickens, stirring frequently, about 12 minutes. Stir in cooked rice.
Place tomatoes in 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish. Spoon lamb mixture into tomatoes. Sprinkle each tomato with 1/2 tablespoon breadcrumbs, then 1 tablespoon cheese. Bake until heated through and cheese begins to turn golden, about 25 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons parsley.