Monday, 10 December 2018

The new putanesca, and deconstructed comfort cooking with Ottolenghi

 Quince, cheesecake with amaretti and hazelnut crumble,recipe below

Oh is for  Ottolenghi,and what Oh what would we do without him? I have to say I am so obsessed with Ottolenghiness that if there was a fan club I would be the self professed secretary."Ready or not" he says "a month of inevitable overindulgence is upon us." So what we need to allow ourselves this indulgent period is to let comfort cooking ease us into the season gently.Make ahead is always a good start, and he is a master of providing us with recipes in this category.Deconstructed I like too, being able to prepare  all the elements in advance and then, come the time, just compose the plate.Here are two recipes showing the pared-back brilliance of his book "SIMPLE."First up is a simple supper dish which is short on time,has less than 10 ingredients,and is something you can make ahead with pantry ingredients.It´s perfect for the lazy cook and is easier than you think.Its almost a simple take on putanesca.Make the sauce three days ahead if you like and keep in the fridge until needed.
Second up is not a recipe from Simple but from his Saturday column in the Guardian.
´Tis the season of the quince and I will be considering serving this indulgent pud as a lighter alternative to the richness of others.
Pappardelle with harissa,black olives and capers
We like this spicy, but Ottolenghi´s given quantity of harissa can easily be reduced.
I always keep a jar of home made harissa in the fridge.I did not have pappardelle to hand so substituted with tagliatelle.
serves four
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion,thinly sliced
3 tbsp harissa
400g cherry tomatoes,halved
55g pitted black olives
209g baby capers
15g parsley,roughly chopped
500g dried pappardelle,(or another wide flat pasta)
120g greek style yoghurt 
Flor de sal
Put the oil into a large sauté pan, for which you have a lid, and place on a medium high heat. Once hot, add the onion and fry for 8 minutes, stirring every once in a while, until soft and caramelised. Add the harissa, tomatoes, olives, capers and ½ teaspoon of salt and continue to fry for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently, until the tomatoes start to break down. Add 200ml of water and stir through. Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium low, cover the pan and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the lid of the sauce and continue to cook for 4-5 minutes, until the sauce is thick and rich. Stir in 10g of the parsley and set aside.
Meanwhile, fill a large pot with plenty of salted water and place on a high heat. Once boiling, add the pappardelle and cook according to the packet instructions, until al dente. Drain well.
Return the pasta to the pot along with the harissa sauce and ⅛ teaspoon of salt. Mix together well, then divide between four shallow bowls. Serve hot, with a spoonful of yoghurt and a final sprinkle of parsley.

Quince, cheesecake with amaretti and hazelnut crumble
This is a deconstructed cheesecake, which makes the process from bowl to mouth a lot quicker. All the elements can be made ahead. The cheesecake itself will keep in the fridge for three days, as will the quince and syrup – simply bring the fruit back to room temperature a few hours before serving, and gently heat the syrup to loosen it. The crumble will keep for two days in an airtight container at room temperature – bake in a very hot oven for a few minutes to crisp up.
Prep 12 min
Cook 1 hr 35 min
Serves 4

For the poached quince
1 lemon
1 large quince (320g)
70ml red wine
70g caster sugar
¼ tsp ground allspice
½ tsp vanilla paste or extract
1-2 oranges – skin finely shaved, to get 3 strips, then juiced, to get 3 tbsp
145ml pomegranate juice

For the cheesecake
100g goat’s cheese
30g icing sugar, sifted
200ml double cream
¼ tsp vanilla bean paste or extract
¼ tsp ground allspice
½ tsp finely grated orange zest

For the crumble
70g unsalted butter
50g amaretti biscuits – the hard ones, not the chewy variety
50g Hobnob biscuits
50g blanched hazelnuts, well toasted and roughly chopped
¼ tsp ground allspice
Flaked sea salt

Heat the oven to 190C (180C fan)/390F/gas 6. Juice the lemon, reserving the squeezed halves. Set aside one tablespoon of juice, then put the remaining juice and the squeezed halves in a large bowl with plenty of cold water.
Peel the quince, then cut it in half lengthways. Cut each half into eight segments, so you have 16 segments in total, putting them in the lemon water as you go, to prevent them discolouring. Once you have cut all the segments, use a small, sharp knife to remove the core and seeds – the segments will now look like crescent moons.
Whisk the reserved tablespoon of lemon juice with the wine, sugar, allspice, vanilla, orange juice and peel, 100ml pomegranate juice and 120ml water. Tip the wine mixture and drained quince segments into a high-sided baking dish that’s just big enough to hold the segments without them overlapping too much. Cover tightly with foil, bake for 40 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for another 35 minutes, basting two or three times, until the quince is soft and has taken on the colour of the wine. Add the remaining three tablespoons of pomegranate juice and leave to cool.
Meanwhile, put the goat’s cheese and icing sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment in place. Whisk slowly to make the cheese as smooth as possible, then add the cream, vanilla, allspice and orange zest, and whisk again on medium speed, until the mixture thickens enough to hold its shape – about one to two minutes – then refrigerate.
For the crumble, gently heat the butter in a small saucepan on a medium heat for about six minutes, swirling the pan from time to time, until the butter begins to foam, turn brown and smell nutty and caramelised. Set aside to cool for a few minutes. Roughly crush the amaretti and Hobnobs, then mix in a bowl with the hazelnuts, allspice, the cooled butter and a generous pinch of flaked salt.
To serve, spoon a large scoop of cheesecake mix into each bowl and top with some crumble. Spoon the quince and syrup on top, and finish with more crumble and a final drizzle of syrup.

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