TRAY BAKED RICE with SLOW COOKED TOMATOES, PUMPKIN & HERBS

Tray baked meals are like one pot cooking. Minimal prep, minimal washing up.  What’s not to love?

This dish makes use of early autumn produce like the last of the tomatoes and new season pumpkins and was inspired by an Ottolenghi baked tomato rice dish.  Serve as an accompaniment to meat, or as a vegetarian meal with yoghurt or feta scattered over the top.  

serves 6 to 8 

½ cup (125ml) extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon sea salt

freshly ground black pepper

750g cherry tomatoes

500g golden nugget pumpkin, cut into six wedges, core and seeds removed

150g (about 5 small) banana shallots, halved lengthways

2 bay leaves, torn

½ bunch sage leaves

6 sprigs of thyme

4 sprigs of oregano

6 cloves black garlic, sliced

250g brown basmati rice

500ml boiling water

¼ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg 

Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced).  Have ready an oven to table baking dish measuring about 20 x 30cm.

Drizzle the base of baking dish with half the oil.  Spread the tomatoes, pumpkin wedges, shallots, herbs and bay leaves over dish. Drizzle with the remaining oil. Sprinkle over half the salt and ground black pepper.

Bake for an hour.  Remove dish from the oven.  Increase the oven temperature up to 200°C (220°C fan-forced).  

Poke black garlic pieces throughout the vegetables. Sprinkle rice evenly over the surface of the vegetables.  Pour over boiling water.  Sprinkle over remaining salt, ground pepper and nutmeg.  Cover the dish with foil and seal the edges well.  Bake for 25-30 minutes.  Remove from oven and set aside 10 minutes.  Remove the foil and serve.  

Fiona Hammond © March 2019

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Mark Brancatisano