Crispy Rice Pomodoro with Sesame and Soy

SERVES: 4

Here’s what you make when you’ve had one too many bowls of pasta pomodoro in a season, but the tomatoes are still living, laughing, loving and too good to resist. Look for the largest cherry tomatoes you can find for the plumpest/juiciest tomato sauce. The teeny tiny ones, and even grape tomatoes tend to lose so much of their liquid that they cook down to almost nothing. You’ll also have best success with cooked and cooled white rice so either make it advance, or spread it out on a baking sheet to cool more quickly, OR pop down the street and grab a pint of white rice to go if you’d rather do neither of those things.

Active Time: 15 Mins

Total Time: 1 hr 25 mins

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Produce

  • 2 pounds big cherry tomatoes (about 3 heaping pints)
  • ½ pound shallots (about 6 large)
  • 2 fresno chiles

Pantry

  • ¼ cup olive oil, plus additional for drizzling
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 ½ teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1 large or 2 small cinnamon sticks
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 ½ cups cooked, cooled white rice
  • ⅓ cup toasted sesame seeds, plus more for serving

Dairy

  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees:

2. Do some prep:

  • De-stem 2 pounds of cherry tomatoes.
  • Peel and halve ½ pound of shallots.
  • Cut a fresno chile in half lengthwise. (If you like more heat, slice up a second.)

3. Make the sauce:

  • In a large pot, combine the tomatoes, the halved shallots and chile, 3 tablespoons butter, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 1 ½ teaspoons brown sugar, and 1 large cinnamon stick. Season to taste with salt and pepper and toss to coat vegetables in the oil and aromatics.
  • Transfer pot to the oven and roast, uncovered, for 1 hour, until tomatoes are blistered and caramelized. Remove pot from oven, gently fold a few times, and return pot to the oven for an additional 10-20 minutes, until sauce is reduced and viscous, and a spoon dragged across the bottom of the pot leaves a trail. Be sure to pull the pot while there is still a good amount of sauciness left! While a super reduced sauce is delicious in its own right, we’re looking to retain some nice juiciness here. Taste, and season with salt and pepper.

4. Crisp rice and serve:

  • Warm a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil, swirl to distribute, and add the rice. Mix and fold to give the rice a nice coating in the oil and pat the rice into an even layer. Let crisp, without stirring, until lightly golden and crisp on the bottom, about 7-9 minutes. Don’t be tempted to stir; doing so will impede crispiness! Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and the sesame seeds, fold to combine, and continue cooking for an additional 2-3 minutes, until butter is melted and rice is fragrant and crispy! Serve, with the tomato sauce spooned atop and more sesame seeds.

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