Here in the U.S., we have the good fortune of access to a wide variety of produce all year round. For that reason, it often escapes my mind that each fruit and vegetable has its very own growing season. When it comes to seasonality, there is no produce item that suffers more than the tomato. We’ve all seen them; flavorless, pink tomatoes that are hard as a rock. The vast difference between that type of tomato and one that is grown in a garden can hardly be encompassed by words.
So just in case you are thinking tomato seasonality doesn’t matter too much, I would urge you to think again. A well grown, in-season tomato is a flavorful masterpiece. They are sweet, acidic, and pouring with juice–simply out of this world.
With the summer tomato season quickly approaching, I love the idea of stuffed tomatoes. They make an amazing side dish and are a great way to use up the tons and tons of fresh tomatoes you plan to buy this summer. Too hungry to wait for summer? Not to worry, these can be made any time of year and are actually a perfect way to add flavor to lack luster tomatoes.
No matter if your parmesan and sausage-stuffed tomatoes are made in winter, spring, summer, or fall, this recipe is sure to please. These guys are filled up with crunchy panko breadcrumbs, crisp Italian sausage, and fresh parsley, then topped off with a layer of delicious Parmesan cheese. This stuffing is so tasty, if I could be a fly on the wall, I’m pretty sure I’ll catch you eating it by itself. It also works great in bell peppers, kind of like our vegan quinoa stuffed pepper recipe. So grab some tomatoes and get cooking!
- 6 small tomatoes (I used Compari) or 3 large vine-ripened tomatoes
- 6 ounces Italian sausage
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- salt and pepper to taste
- Cut the core out of the small tomatoes, and scrape out the seeds using a small spoon or melon baller. If you’re using the large tomatoes, simply scrape out the seeds. Salt the tomatoes, inside and out, then place on a rack over a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil, cut side down, to drain for 15 minutes.
- While the tomatoes are draining, make the filling. Place a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the sausage and cook, breaking it up as you go, until it becomes browned and crispy, about 8 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Drain any excess fat or liquid from the sausage and transfer to a medium, heat-proof bowl. Add the panko, parsley, olive oil, half of the Parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper. Toss to combine.
- Preheat the oven to 450ºF.
- Turn the tomatoes so that the cut side is facing up and fill each with an even amount of the stuffing. Be sure not to pack the stuffing inside the tomatoes. Top each tomato with the remaining Parmesan cheese. Bake the stuffed tomatoes, on the rack, until the cheese becomes browned, about 20 minutes. Allow the tomatoes to cool for 5 minutes, then devour.