I had no idea what to call this recipe. First, it was a simple “Tomato rice with egg”. Then it became “Baked tomato rice with egg”. Then, “Tomato rice egg cocotte”. When I looked it up, I found out that cocotte doesn’t mean what I thought it meant – see, for me, cocotte meant an egg cooked to perfection in an oven. Turns out cocotte is simply the little fireproof dish you use. And another name for a prostitute.
Then resorted to the family. They proposed “Sunny Side Up Rice”, which was nice but I felt it wasn’t accurate enough. “Eggy Rice and “Ricey Egg” came up, but none of them stuck. Then my mother typed “Eggs in a basket”, and very fast a handful of variations evolved: “Nest of Eggs”, “Egg Nest” and “Red Egg Nest” were among these, but the winner had something more.
Without further ado, I present to you
The Sunny Red Egg Nest
In other words: Tomato rice with egg. Baked!
First things first. Chop the onion and fry it in a drop of olive oil in a non-stick pan until it’s soft and translucent.
Add the chopped tomatoes. Don’t worry about chopping them up perfectly – they’re going to reduce down to mush in a second.
…and the tomato sauce.
This is about 10 minutes later. Add some black pepper and, if it’s something you do, bicarbonate of soda to remove the acidity of the tomatoes.
Drop in your loyal bouillon cube. I rarely use salt in sauces anymore… bouillon cubes give the plate a richer, deeper flavour that I prefer.
And now for the rice. The best rice for this dish is risotto rice, but any short, chunky rice will also work. It needs to have a lot of starch and be ready to absorb all the yummy sauce you just made!
Cook the rice like a risotto. If by any chance it starts absorbing too much liquid and drying out, add a little bit of water but be careful! You don’t want to have a soupy rice! Here, the rice is cooked and has been removed from the heat. Three dollops of ricotta are more than enough – if you are unsure of how much ricotta to put, start with a small amount and increase it until you have what you want 🙂
Basil is fundamental. Unfortunately our plant died after making this recipe the plant was fatally attacked by voracious red spiders (that are mites, and not real spiders). We had to buy a new one of a different variety that I like less. But it still tastes like basil, so it’s all good!
mix it up
Spoon it into a heat resistant bowl that can be put in the oven safely. I make individual plates, which look nicer. Make a little space for your egg to snuggle in.
See what I did there? These eggs are fresh, organic eggs. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
How do I know that my store-bought eggs are organic and the hens are treated as well as they can be? Because of this easy tip that someone gave me once.
Put the oven-proof bowl with your eggs sitting safely in its nest of goodness and put it on the lowest rack of your oven, preheated to 180C, for about 10mins or until the white is firm, like so:
The rice is crunchy and drier, the white of the egg is cooked and…
..the yolk is runny and delicious!
Looks good doesn’t it? And with the creaminess of the ricotta and the natural taste of fresh tomatoes and basil, it’s also quite delicate on the palate.