This post may contain affiliate links, please see our Privacy Policy for details.

These Italian-inspired baked stuffed tomatoes are one of a kind. Melt-in-your-mouth roasted tomatoes are stuffed with a light and flavorful ricotta-lemon-basil filling, and topped with crusty chili breadcrumbs. Baked in the oven, on a layer of caramelized garlic tomato sauce, it is the perfect dish to pair with your favorite Chianti Classico wine. Yes, this is a real show-stopper!

stuffed tomatoes with ricotta, basil and breadcrumbs with tomato sauce in a skillet with a glass of red wine on the side

Why you should try this recipe

tomatoes, ricotta, lemon, breadcrumbs, garlic, pecorino, olive oil, chili flakes and salt

Subscribe for free weekly recipes!


The ingredients you’ll need

(Note: the full ingredients list, including measurements, is provided in the recipe card at the end of the post.)

  • Big tomatoes – Beefsteak heirloom tomatoes work great, as they are large enough for a main course. I recommend choosing them very slightly underripe, as it is easier to carve them.
  • Ricotta cheese – choose real whole-milk Italian ricotta cheese for the best result.
  • Lemon zest – adds a zing and elevates the ricotta filling.
  • Fresh basil – (lots of it!) for its bright “anis-y” and complex flavors.
  • Pecorino cheese (or Parmigiano Reggiano) – adds umami, saltiness, and balance to the filling.
  • Breadcrumbs – are a classic in the French dish “tomates provençales“, which I got inspired by. Breadcrumbs add a nice crunch and texture contrast.
  • Garlic – is used to flavor both the tomato sauce and breadcrumbs.
  • Chili flakes (optional) – I used Peperoncino, which brings out the breadcrumbs’ flavor with a subtle spiciness.
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, salt, and black pepper – to season.
big Beefsteak tomatoes on a wooden board

How to make Stuffed Tomatoes?

Start by making the basil ricotta filling: 

  • Chiffonade the basil leaves by stacking them and gently rolling them together on a chopping board.
  • With a sharp knife, thinly chop the rolled basil leaves.

Note: The basil chiffonade technique prevents flavor (mainly located in the watery parts of the leaves) from being transferred to the chopping board. Handling basil leaves gently without bruising or crushing them ensures that all the flavors are added to the salad.


  • In a mixing bowl, add the ricotta, lemon zest, grated Pecorino, chopped basil, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Stir until well combined.
  • Place in the fridge while you make the rest of the recipe.

Make the breadcrumb topping: 

  • In a bowl, add breadcrumbs, grated garlic, grated Pecorino, crushed chili flakes, olive oil, and salt.
  • Mix until well combined, and set aside.  

Prepare the tomatoes:

  • Thoroughly rinse the tomatoes and pat them dry with a kitchen cloth. 
  • Using a sharp knife, cut the top of the tomato off, about ½ inch (1 cm) below the stem. Set the tomato tops aside.
  • Cut a circle around the flesh. Then, using a large spoon, carefully remove the core of the tomato, placing it in the bowl of a food processor.
  • Carve all the tomatoes and set them aside. 

  • Discard the stems from the tomato tops. Then place the top pieces in the food processor, along with the garlic, extra-virgin olive oil, and salt. Blend until smooth.

Assemble the dish:

  • Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
  • Transfer the tomato sauce to a baking dish or skillet large enough to contain all the tomatoes.
  • Fill the carved tomatoes with the ricotta filling and place them in the baking dish, on top of the tomato sauce. 
  • Sprinkle each tomato with the breadcrumb mixture.
  •  Bake covered with tin foil for 45 minutes, then remove and bake for another 1 hour uncovered. 

  • Add a generous handful of fresh basil, and serve immediately with a glass of Chianti Classico!
stuffed tomatoes with ricotta, basil and breadcrumbs with tomato sauce in a skillet with a glass of red wine on the side

Nim Keys – Useful Tips

  1. Choosing very slightly underripe tomatoes – makes the carving process much easier. I recommend choosing high-quality heirloom Beefsteak tomatoes for the best result.
  2. Fresh herbs versatility – I used fresh basil as it grows abundantly in my herb garden but this recipe is versatile and can be adapted to the herbs of your liking (parsley, dill, chives etc).
  3. Serving suggestions: these stuffed tomatoes are meant to be served as a main course. They are delicious as is or can be accompanied by rice or arugula salad.

close-up of baked tomatoes cut in half and stuffed with ricotta basil filling and topped with breadcrumbs

Wine Pairing for Stuffed Tomatoes 🍷


CHIANTI CLASSICO

Chianti wines are made from Sangiovese grapes and usually display aromas of plum, and red cherries, with earthy undertones and dry herb notes. They are perfect to bring out the fruitiness and savoriness of these Stuffed Tomatoes with Breadcrumbs, Ricotta, and Basil.

Their vibrant acidity makes them the ideal candidates to match the tartness of tomatoes and lemon, while their medium-to-full body compliments the weight of garlic tomato sauce and cheesy breadcrumbs.

WINE APPELLATION SUGGESTIONS

  • Chianto Classico DOCG – Panzano in Chianti, Tuscany (Italy)
  • Chianti Classico DOCG – Greve in Chianti, Tuscany (Italy)
  • Chianti Classico DOCG – Radda in Chianti, Tuscany (Italy)

close-up of a baked tomato cut in half and stuffed with ricotta basil filling and topped with breadcrumbs

FAQ

Can I make these stuffed tomatoes vegan?

You sure can! For our vegan friends out there, just replace the ricotta with vegan cottage cheese and omit the Pecorino and you’ll be good to go!

My tomatoes collapsed, is this normal?

It is. Depending on the variety and ripeness of the tomatoes, some might collapse more easily than others. In any case, this is what we want: a delicious roasted tomato stuffed with flavorful ricotta filling and caramelized tomato sauce.

The breadcrumbs are burnt, what went wrong?

Homemade breadcrumbs, Panko, or other store-bought breadcrumbs might react differently to long baking. I recommend baking the tomatoes covered with tin foil for the first 30 minutes of the baking, then removing the foil. Feel free to place the foil back on at the end of the baking if you notice that the breadcrumbs are over-browning.

Other Delicious Summer Recipes


Subscribe for free weekly recipes!


stuffed tomatoes with ricotta and basil in a skillet with tomato sauce and a glass of wine on the side

Stuffed Tomatoes with Breadcrumbs, Ricotta and Basil

These Italian-inspired baked stuffed tomatoes are one of a kind. Melt-in-your-mouth roasted tomatoes are stuffed with a light and flavorful ricotta-lemon-basil filling, and topped with crusty chili breadcrumbs. Baked in the oven, on a layer of caramelized garlic tomato sauce, it is the perfect dish to pair with your favorite Chianti Classico wine. Yes, this is a real show-stopper!
4 from 1 vote
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mediterranean
Diet Vegetarian
Servings 6 big stuffed tomatoes

EQUIPEMENT

  • Microplane Zester
  • Food Processor
  • Baking Dish

INGREDIENTS
 

For the basil ricotta filling

  • 3 cups (750 g) good quality whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 4 lemons, zested about 4 tablespoons of lemon zest
  • ½ heaping cup (45 g) Pecorino cheese (or Parmigiana Reggiano), grated
  • 3 cups (45 g) basil leaves
  • 3 tablespoons (45 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon freshly cracked pepper
  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt

For the breadcrumb topping

  • ½ cup (50 g) dried breadcrumbs (either homemade or Panko breadcrumbs)
  • ¼ cup (10 g) Pecorino cheese (or Parmigiano Reggiano), grated
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed chili flakes I used peperoncino (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt

For the stuffed tomatoes

  • 6 (2 kg) big tomatoes such as Beefsteak tomatoes about 4.4 pounds or 2 kg
  • 2 tablespoons (15 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 medium cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 generous handful fresh basil to serve

INSTRUCTIONS

Start by making the basil ricotta filling: 

  • In a medium mixing bowl, add the ricotta, lemon zest, grated Pecorino, chopped basil (see the chiffonade technique above in this post), extra-virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper.
  • Stir until well combined and place it in the fridge.

Make the breadcrumb topping: 

  • In a bowl, add breadcrumbs, grated garlic, grated Pecorino, crushed chili flakes, extra-virgin olive oil, and salt.
  • Mix until well combined and set aside.  

Prepare the tomatoes:

  • Thoroughly rinse the tomatoes and pat them dry with a kitchen cloth. 
  • Using a sharp knife, cut the top of the tomato off, about ½-inch (1 cm) below the stem. Set the tomato tops aside.
  • Cut a circle around the tomato core. Then, using a large spoon, carefully remove the core, placing it in the bowl of a food processor.
  • Carve all the tomatoes and set them aside. 
  • Discard the stems from the tomato tops. Add the tomato top pieces to the food processor bowl, along with the tomato cores. Add garlic, extra-virgin olive oil, and salt, and blend until smooth.

Assemble the dish:

  • Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
  • Transfer the blended tomato mixture to a baking dish or a skillet large enough to contain all the tomatoes.
  • Fill the carved tomatoes with the ricotta filling and place them in the baking dish, on top of the blended tomato mixture. 
  • Sprinkle each tomato with the breadcrumbs mixture.
  • Bake covered with tin foil for 30 minutes, then remove and bake for another 60 minutes uncovered, until the tomatoes are cooked through.
  • Add a generous handful of fresh basil and serve immediately with a glass of your favorite Chianti Classico.

NIM KEYS - USEFUL TIPS

  1. Choosing slightly underripe tomatoes - make the carving process much easier. I recommend choosing high-quality heirloom Beefsteak tomatoes for the best result.
  2. Fresh herbs versatility - I used fresh basil as it grows abundantly in my herb garden but this recipe is versatile and can be adapted to the herbs of your liking (parsley, dill, chives etc).
  3. Serving suggestions: these stuffed tomatoes are meant to be served as a main course. They are delicious as is or can be accompanied by rice or arugula salad.

NUTRITION

Calories: 480kcalCarbohydrates: 25gProtein: 20gFat: 35gSaturated Fat: 13gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 17gCholesterol: 68mgSodium: 1403mgPotassium: 994mgFiber: 5gSugar: 10gVitamin A: 4010IUVitamin C: 54mgCalcium: 384mgIron: 2mg
Keyword baked tomatoes, Italian-inspired stuffed tomatoes, ricotta stuffed tomatoes, stuffed tomatoes, vegetarian stuffed tomatoes
Did you make this recipe?Don't forget the last step! Leave a comment below to let me know how it went!

Leave a Comment & Rating

If you enjoyed this recipe and wine pairing, please consider giving it a star rating along with your comment! It helps others discover my blog and recipes, and your comments always brighten my day! Thank you for your support :)

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




2 Comments