Pasta Stuffed Tomatoes


5 tbs olive oil, plus extra for greasing
8 large round tomatoes
1 cup dried ditalini (or other very small pasta)
8 black olives, pitted and finely chopped
2 tbs chopped fresh basil
1 tbs finely chopped fresh parsley
2/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
salt and ground black pepper

Brush a cookie sheet with olive oil. Slice the tops off the tomatoes and reserve to make “lids.” If the tomatoes will not stand up, cut a thin slice off the bottom of each tomato. Using a teaspoon, scoop out the tomato pulp into a strainer, but do not pierce the tomato shells. Invert the tomato shells onto paper towels, pat dry, and then set aside to drain thoroughly. Bring a large saucepan of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the ditalini and 1 tbs of olive oil and cook until tender, but still firm to the bite. Drain pasta thoroughly and set aside. Put the olives, chopped basil, parsley, and Parmesan cheese into a large mixing bowl and stir in the tomato pulp. Add the pasta to the bowl. Stir in the remaining olive oil, mix together well, and season to taste with salt and ground black pepper. Spoon the pasta mixture into the tomato shells and replace the “lids.” Arrange the tomatoes on the cookie sheet and bake in a preheated oven at 375 degrees F. for 15 to 20 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before serving. Yield: 4 servings.