Yotam Ottolenghi’s tray bake recipes | Food (2024)

Yotam Ottolenghi recipes

Let the oven do the hard work, then sit down to a butternut squash bake, a cheesy gratin or some saucy roast veg

Yotam Ottolenghi

Sat 28 Apr 2018 09.00 BST

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I’ve been making lots of tray bakes recently. I am not sure I like the term – 1970s convenience food springs to mind – but I love what it stands for: the idea that, after doing the prep, you can sit down with a cuppa or a glass of wine and relax for an hour or two while your meal more or less cooks itself. And, unlike a stew, which offers the cook a similar break, a bake retains much of the freshness and integrity of its components, particularly vegetables.

Pasta and butternut squash cake (pictured above)

This ‘cake’ was a revelation to me: who would have thought you could cook pasta for two hours and end up with something fresh, super-comforting and full of texture? Serve hot for lunch or dinner, or leave to cool, cut into wedges and have it as a portable cold lunch for work, school or as part of a picnic spread. Bear in mind that the chilli heat really comes through, so leave it out if you want to make this more child-friendly.

Prep 20 min
Cook 2 hr 30 min
Serves 6

250g fresh egg lasagne sheets, torn into large pieces
½ butternut squash, (400g net weight) peeled, deseeded and cut into very thin, 2-3mm-thick slices (use a mandoline, ideally)
50g parmesan, grated
3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
65g pine nuts, toasted
35g basil leaves, roughly torn
1½ tbsp fresh thyme leaves
¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
¾ tsp dried chilli flakes
1 egg
2 large plum tomatoes (220g net weight), coarsely grated and skins discarded
150g baby spinach
3 tbsp olive oil
200g ricotta
200g feta, crumbled into 1-2cm pieces
Salt and black pepper
2 tsp parsley leaves, chopped

Heat the oven to 170C/335F/gas 3½. Line the base and sides of a 22cm cake tin with baking paper.

Put the first 12 ingredients in a large bowl with two tablespoons of olive oil, three-quarters of the ricotta and feta, a teaspoon and a quarter of salt, 50ml cold water and plenty of pepper, and stir to combine.

Tip the pumpkin mix into the cake tin, pressing it down firmly to flatten, then top with the remaining ricotta and feta, and cover securely with foil. Bake for an hour and a half, then discard the foil, drizzle over the remaining tablespoon of oil and bake for another half-hour, until the top is crisp and browned. Leave to cool for 30 minutes, then remove from the cake tin, sprinkle with parsley and serve.

Herby cabbage and potato gratin with gruyère and ricotta

Slow-roasting transforms garlic into a sweet and sticky version of itself, which, when combined with pungent, raw garlic, gives a dish a real umami kick. I’ve taken to roasting four or five bulbs at a time, so I always have some to hand; they keep for four days in the fridge and are great in pasta sauces and soups.

Prep 15 min
Cook 2 hr 10 min
Serves 4

1 head garlic, top cut off to expose the bulbs
65ml olive oil
Salt and black pepper
450g desiree potatoes (ie, about 4), cut into 3mm-thick slices (use a mandoline, ideally)
3 banana shallots, peeled and finely sliced (again, on a mandoline, ideally)
2½ tsp smoked paprika
1 pointed sweet cabbage, trimmed, leaves separated
20g basil leaves, finely chopped
10g tarragon leaves, finely chopped
20g parsley leaves, finely chopped
3-4 spring onions, finely sliced
2 lemons, zested, to get 1½ tbsp, and juiced, to get 1 tbsp
200g ricotta
100g gruyère, grated
250ml vegetable or chicken stock

Heat the oven to 200C/390F/gas 6. Take out two garlic cloves from the head of garlic, then drizzle the rest of the bulb with a teaspoon of oil and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Wrap tightly in foil and roast for 40 minutes, until the cloves are soft and golden brown. Remove the foil and, when cool enough to handle, squeeze out the cloves and discard the papery skins.

While the garlic is roasting, prepare the rest of the vegetables. Combine the potatoes, shallots and paprika in a bowl with two tablespoons of oil, half a teaspoon of salt and plenty of pepper. Toss the cabbage leaves in a tablespoon of oil, a quarter-teaspoon of salt and lots of pepper. Roughly crush the two reserved cloves of raw garlic and mix with all the herbs, the spring onions, lemon zest and the cooked garlic. Set aside a quarter of the herb mixture – you’ll use it later as a garnish.

Arrange a third of the cabbage leaves over the base of a 20cm x 30cm, high-sided baking dish. Cover with half the potato and shallot mixture, top that with a third of the herb mixture, then dot half the ricotta and gruyère over the herbs. Repeat these four layers again, then top everything with a final layer of cabbage and the last of the herb mixture.

Combine the stock, lemon juice and a quarter-teaspoon of salt and pour evenly over the bake, lifting up some of the cabbage leaves so the liquid sinks down. Cover tightly with foil and bake for an hour and 10 minutes, until the cabbage and potatoes are soft and cooked through. Remove the foil, drizzle over the remaining tablespoon of oil and bake, uncovered, for 10 minutes more, until the cabbage begins to crisp up and turn golden brown. Remove from the oven, leave to cool for 10 minutes, then finish with the reserved herbs and serve.

Baked cauliflower with spices, spinach and tomato

This would go really well with rice or some other grain. If you don’t mind it not being dairy-free, serve with Greek yoghurt or even creme fraiche.

Prep 15 min
Cook 75 min
Serves 4

8 large vine tomatoes (700g net weight)
½ tsp ground turmeric
1½ tsp ground cumin
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cinnamon
Seeds from 8 cardamom pods, crushed in a mortar
⅛ tsp ground cloves
2 smalls heads cauliflower, trimmed and cut into medium-sized florets (850g net weight)
90ml olive oil
3cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
5 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
1 red onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 large green chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
1 tsp black mustard seeds
1½ tsp tomato paste
30g coriander leaves, roughly chopped, plus a few extra leaves to garnish
200g baby spinach
100g cherry tomatoes, cut in half

Heat the oven to 180C/350F/gas 4. Coarsely grate the tomatoes on a box grater, discarding the skin: you should end up with about 600g grated tomato.

Mix all the spices in a small bowl, then add a third of this mixture to a large bowl. Add the cauliflower, two tablespoons of oil and a half-teaspoon of salt to the large bowl, then toss to coat.

Put the ginger, garlic and a quarter-teaspoon of salt in a mortar and crush to a rough paste.

Heat two tablespoons of oil in a frying pan on a medium flame and, once hot, fry the onion until soft and browned – about seven minutes. Add the ginger and garlic paste, green chilli and mustard seeds, stir-fry for a minute more, then stir in the tomato paste and remaining spice mixture, and cook for another 30 seconds. Add the grated tomato and a teaspoon of salt, leave to simmer for five minutes, then stir in the coriander and spinach, and cook for another three minutes, until the sauce has reduced a little.

Transfer the sauce to a 20cm x 30cm baking dish and top with the cauliflower mix and cherry tomato halves. Cover tightly with foil, bake for 40 minutes, then remove the foil, drizzle with a tablespoon of oil and bake uncovered for 10 minutes more. Remove from the oven, drizzle with the remaining tablespoon of oil, top with a little coriander and serve.

  • Food styling: Emily Kydd. Prop styling: Jennifer Kay


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