Baked Ziti with Feta

I had recently made Jamie Oliver’s Baked Pasta with Tomatoes and Mozzarella, when I came across this similar recipe by Ottolenghi. The concept is the same – cheesey pasta in tomato sauce, baked until melty – the execution is different, with different pastas, different spices, cheeses and cooking methods. They are both great left-over-pasta-and-tomato-sauce dishes – layer with cheese and bake or grill – and hence they would make fabulous Sunday night supper meals.

I think Jamie’s recipe is a winner – easy to make and packed with flavour, and it has an honesty about its simplicity which shines through in the finished dish. Ottolenghi’s version layers the flavours with herbs and spices and uses the bite of feta and the umami of aged cheese and parmesan to add depth to the dish. It is different to Jamie’s in that the pasta is the focus and it is baked until the top layer is crispy and the cheese is golden brown. Delicious. Jamie’s recipe is pasta bathed in tomato sauce, Ottolenghi’s is pasta with a little tomato sauce.

I always preferred my father’s pasta the next day, when he’d put it in a hot oven with heaps of extra cheese. It would emerge slightly burned and very crisp on top.

This recipe serves a heap of people, up to 10, depending on how hungry the mob is. So don’t be afraid to halve it for a smaller family meal. Just note that the baking dish must be big enough to hold the pasta in a shallow layer. Or bake in separate dishes as I did.

I also have to mention that Ottolenghi grills this dish but I baked it. Partly because that is easier in our kitchen, but mostly because the recipe asks that the tomato sauce sits aside while the pasta is cooked, so it has lost heat. Baking heats the dish again beautifully.

As already mentioned, this is an Ottolenghi dish from Plenty More – we are cooking our way through this book. We feel free to substitute ingredients that are not readily available in our local area.

In fact, it is Ottolenghi Cooking the Books Day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish the latest recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi’s books – those we have cooked directly and those we have been inspired by. Currently we are cooking from Plenty More, but not ignoring his other books completely. Note that I often massage the recipes to suit what is available from our garden and pantry. For the original recipes, check his books and his Guardian column.

Similar dishes include Baked Pasta with Tomatoes and Mozzarella, Pasta Bake with Cabbage and Cheese, and Pasta Sauce with Aubergine, Red Peppers and Tomatoes.

Browse all of our Pasta dishes, our Baked dishes and our Italian recipes. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Early Winter recipes.

We use Australian measurements: 1 tspn = 5ml; 1 Tblspn = 20ml; 1 cup = 250ml.

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Fennel with Garlic and Orange

Toasted in a pan, this fennel dish is a delight.

Fennel is a wonderful vegetable with a strong aniseed taste when raw and a mellower taste when it is cooked. Raw fennel makes wonderful salads, and baked, grilled or fried fennel make excellent side dishes.

Here, a simple pan fried fennel dish flavoured with orange (a wonderful pairing with fennel) and lemon or pomegranate for acidity. Easy to make, this dish will surprise. It could also be cooked in a foil pan in a covered BBQ.

Are you looking for Fennel recipes? You will love Fennel Salad with Orange Vinaigrette, Grilled Fennel with Mozzarella, and Fennel a la Grecque. You might like to read about Sweet Green Fennel and Florence Fennel.

Browse more Fennel recipes here.  Or explore our collection of easy Early Winter recipes.

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Cauliflower “Shawarma” with Pomegranate and Tahini

Cauliflower has been used for ages as a vegetarian answer to the classic Middle Eastern Shawarma recipe. The cauliflower is roasted with a range of spices including toasted cumin and coriander, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, and sumac. In this recipe, the cauliflower is then dressed with tahini, pomegranates, pine nuts and rose petals. Beautiful Middle Eastern flavours.

This particular recipe, they say, originally came from Josh Katz of Berber and Q, and it is such a beautiful dish. It has sweetness, tartness, creaminess, ‘burntness’ (umami), warmness from the spices and a fragrance that brings the bazaars of the Middle East to your table. Its such a great dish.

Are you looking for Cauliflower recipes? Try Burghul and Cauliflower Salad with Hazelnuts, South Indian Cauliflower Soup, Cauliflower Kitchari and Slow Cooked Cauliflower with Lime and Spices.

Or some Middle Eastern recipes? Try Rice and Orzo, Saffron and Rose Scented Aubergines, and Semi Dried Tomatoes with Pomegranate Molasses.

You can also browse all of our Cauliflower Recipes, all of our Middle Eastern Recipes and all of our Pomegranate dishes. Or take some time to check out our Mid Autumn dishes.

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Smoky Eggplants and Tomatoes

Adding a smoky flavour to vegetables and other foods – garlic, eggplant, tomatoes, beetroot, tofu etc – adds an additional flavour dimension to dishes. It is worth doing for a special occasion. Today’s recipe is a Greek-inspired dish. I have added the instructions for smoking the foods in the recipe, but if you are not inclined to go to this effort, char-grill your veg in your normal, favourite way.

Similar recipes include

Browse all of our Eggplant recipes and Tomato dishes. Our Greek dishes are here. Or explore our Early Autumn dishes.

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Grilled Pecorino Wrapped in Vine Leaves

Do you have a grape vine, or access to grape vine leaves? Then this is for you. A great tea time snack, they are definitely delightful.

Pecorino is wrapped in vine leaves and then grilled until the cheese melts and the leaves crisp a little. You can even cook these on a BBQ.

Grape leaves are best picked from grape vines in the Spring and Early Summer, while they are still tender. Select young whole, medium leaves. Make sure  that the leaves haven’t been sprayed.

Similar recipes include Dolmades, Burghul Dolmas, Baked Yoghurt in Vine Leaves, Mushrooms Baked in Grape Vine Leaves and Grape Vine Leaf Powder.

Browse our grape vine leaf recipes, our Italian dishes and our French recipes. Or take some time to explore our collection of Late Spring recipes.

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Grilled Vegetables on the BBQ | Quick Meals

The easiest way to use a BBQ.

The easiest thing to do with a BBQ, the thing that does not take any thinking or preparing, is simple grilled vegetables with, say, haloumi.

It’s for those nights when it is far too much to stir, cut, saute, blend, whiz, spice up, make tadkas. When the weather is nice it is perfect for a BBQ.

You might like to browse our other BBQ recipes here. Our favourites are Roasted Carrots with Pomegranate Molasses and Roasted Grapes. If you haven’t see it already, take a look at Part 1 of this BBQ series to see Grilled Fennel with Lemon and Parmesan and Grilled Broccoli with Preserved Lemon and Part 2 of this BBQ Series to see Melty Cheese and Baked Bananas. Do browse the complete BBQ Series of recipes, there are so many more recipes including Baked Garlicky Eggplant, Baked Apricots, and Hot Tomato Salad. Find inspiration in our Winter recipes here and here.

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Grilled Sweet Peppers and Eggplant Salad

A simple dish, exquisite in its simplicity. The sweetness of the peppers with the texture of the eggplant brings an element of surprise to the table.

Are you looking for Capsicum dishes? You might also like to make Roasted Capsicum Salad with MozzarellaBaked Peppers and Sweet Peppers in Oil.

Or are you more interested in Eggplant dishes? Read more about Eggplants, and try Indian Roasted Eggplant in Tamarind Gravy, Grilled Eggplant Salad with Pinenuts, and Eggplants with a Garlic Yoghurt Sauce.

Browse all of our Capsicum recipes here and here, and Eggplant recipes here and here. Be inspired by our Spring time recipes here and here.

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Baingan Ka Bharta | Punjabi Smoky Eggplant Curry

An Indian eggplant dish with a wonderful smoky flavour.

There are so many way to cook eggplants – it is such a versatile vegetable. Although it can definitely stand on its own (eg steamed eggplant dishes), it often prefers to be a part of a larger dish than stand on its own.

This recipe is an Indian dish where the eggplant is grilled until cooked through, and the flesh is mixed with spices. Many cuisines have recipes that treat the eggplant in similar ways but vary the ingredients. Baba Ganoush is one example.

Bharta are North Indian (Punjabi) dishes where the main ingredient is roasted and then pureed with spices. The flavours are intensified by the roasting and the resulting dish is spicy and tangy. Baingan Bharta is so popular, though, versions exist in several states of India.

Are you looking for other Bharta recipes? Try Tomato Bharta and Baingan Pora – Bengali Eggplant Puree. Or try other Punjabi dishes – Kohlrabi Subzi, Dal Makhani, and Potato and Eggplant Curry.

Perhaps you are looking for Eggplant recipes. Try Begun Pora with Bori Crumbles, Grilled Marinated Eggplant, Saffron and Rose Scented Eggplant and Brinjal Fry.

See all of our Bharta recipes here. Read all about Indian Chutneys here, and feel free to browse other Indian Chutneys recipes here and here. You might also like to browse our other Eggplant dishes. Our Indian recipes are here. Perhaps browse our Indian Essentials. Or find some inspiration in our Early Spring recipes.

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