Going to the market right now is a bit like getting a glimpse of heaven. Do you agree? I can hardly decide what to leave behind as everything looks so deliciously fresh and perfectly ripe and succulent and ready to be devoured ... Especially those heirloom tomatoes so I bought a whole crate of course. Needless to say we had some with avocados and some in between meals like an apple from paradise. I wanted to make something fun and healthy for our friends so I looked through all of my cookbooks and again was inspired by Ottolenghi - he is the best! I really recommend his vegetarian cookbook. There is so much in it, tasty and easy to make always a success.
Preparation time: 25 min
Cooking time: 40 min
Oven Temperature 200°C | 400°F
1 zucchini, cut in dice
3 celery stalks, cut in dice
1 large onion, finely diced
2 tbsp crushed garlic cloves
1 tbsp tomato paste
2 cups + more of chicken or vegetable stock
280 g | 1 cup Basmati rice
3 tbsp fresh oregano, chopped
2 tbsp of those preserved lemons chopped (or ½ tsp grated peel of an organic lemon)
1 tbsp lemon juice
200 g firm mozzarella, in cubes
60 g grated Parmesan cheese
6 tomatoes in different colors, in ½ slices
salt and crushed black pepper
extra oregano for decoration
100 ml olive oil
Rinse the rice and cook it over medium-high heat in a pot with 2 cups of the stock.
Heat the oil in a large pan over medium-high heat and sauté the onions slightly until they turn translucent, add the celery, zucchini and garlic and cook for about 8 minutes, stir until halfway done. Add the Basmati rice and the stock to the pan with the vegetables and cook another 4 minutes until the stock evaporates, add the tomato paste, stir. Now you can take the pan off the heat, add the mozzarella, the Parmesan, the lemon, lemon juice and the oregano, some more stock depending on your rice and season to your taste with salt and pepper.
The mix can now be transferred to a baking dish, round (27 cm) rectangular (27x21 cm). Arrange the tomatoes on top of the rice with salt and pepper and bake the dish in the oven for 40 minutes at 200°C. Let settle for 5 minutes before serving.
This is great as well on the next day eaten cold. If you like to heat it again I recommend to cover the dish with a foil.