Spinach, Ricotta and Mozzarella Toasted Sandwiches

The day started off at -2C, rather cold, and has edged its way up to 11C. It is the sort of day to eat toasted sandwiches and bowls of soup. To curl up with a rug in the warmth of the heating, instead of at your desk to get the day’s money-earning work done. To prioritise catching up on podcasts rather than racing around doing errands.

We always (mostly) try to get more vegetables into our day, and toasted sandwiches can be just the vehicle. This is our way to pack toasted sandwiches with spinach or other greens and load it with cheesy goodness.

Similar recipes include Australian Toasties, Indian French Toast, Mushrooms for Toast, and Paneer Toast.

Browse all of our Toasties, and all of our Snacks. Or browse our Late Winter dishes.

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Caprese Salad | Insalata Caprese

This is one of the most awesome Summer Salads, and, better still, it takes just a minute to two to prepare. Of course it is awesome, it originates from the Italian island of Capri, and you can just feel the summer sea and breezes in this salad. So simple – great tomatoes, sweet basil and fresh mozzarella. In Italy it is usually served as an antipasto, not a contorno (side dish).

The salad was created in the 1950s at the Trattoria da Vincenzo as a light lunch for regulars. They’d order a just-picked tomato and fresh fior di latte (cow’s-milk mozzarella — no buffalo on Capri). The salad has evolved on the island to include a few leaves of rughetta (wild arugula) and a pinch of dried wild oregano, both local products. Elsewhere in Italy it takes the form of just tomato, mozzarella and basil.

The dressing is always only a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil. Vinegar is thought to destroy the delicate flavour of the cheese and is never used in Italy. Because this salad is so simple, top-rate ingredients are necessary – floury tomatoes, rancid oil and rubbery processed mozzarella are unacceptable.

In fact this is so good that it is worth making double the amount, and using the remainder to pile onto flatbread, garlic toast or just on slices of fresh beautiful bread. Or turn it into another classic Italian salad by adding cubes of dried or crispy baked bread.

Similar dishes include Tomato Carpaccio, Tomato Salad with Feta, Za’atar and Turmeric Oil, Salad of Rocket and Radicchio with Parmesan, Ensalada, and Marinated Buffalo Mozzarella and Tomato.

Browse all of our Tomato Salads and all of our Italian recipes. Or explore our Mid Summer recipes.

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Green Tomato and Mozzarella Salad

I am blessed to have access to green tomatoes all through the Summer season and well into Autumn. Our local green grocers stock them, as well as the Asian shop, and some we take from our own bushes. Our love of green tomatoes is well known.

There is a time in Summer when our adoration of tomato salads kicks in – normally in Feb, late Summer, when tomatoes begin to reach their peak. Then tomato salads feature at most meals, right through to Mid Autumn. This year it was a little earlier, in the last weeks of January. There was heatwave after heatwave this year, and so I blame the weather 😉 .

This salad can be made with any fresh mozzarella, creamy cows milk feta or ricotta. The tomatoes are crisp, firm and sharp, and contrast well with the cheeses. The dressing is made with balsamic vinegar and mustard with olive oil. Normally we wouldn’t include such sharp tastes with such subtle cheeses, but it works well with the green tomatoes.

Similar recipes include Tomato Salad with Feta, Za’atar and Turmeric Oil, Indian Green Tomato Chutney, Green Tomato Fry, Avocado, Black Bean and Green Tomato Salad, and Green Tomato and Mozzarella Salad.

Browse all of our Green Tomato recipes and all of our Salads. Or explore our Mid Summer dishes.

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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 Zucchini Gratin, Baked Feta with Tomatoes, 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.

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Marinated Buffalo Mozzarella and Tomato

We have been making this dish for ever and a day. We make all sorts of variations. Sometimes we use Trecce, the plaits of Mozzarella, or really large balls, and tear them apart, drizzling with a grassy extra virgin olive oil and tossing tomato wedges, cucumber slices and basil leaves on top. It is divine, and ready in 5 minutes. Salt and pepper, and it is done.

Sometimes we use tiny bocconcini balls, cutting or tearing them in halves and marinating them, or using them as-is. Add some spring onions to the tomatoes and cucumbers. Drizzle with even more olive oil.

We can’t even remember where we first came across this practice but it is common. Ottolenghi has a great recipe where large balls of Buffalo Mozzarella are marinated in some spices, herbs, garlic and oil, before tomatoes are added. This is probably one of the simplest yet finest suppers you can make. It is a great summery meal to eat on the couch watching your favourite show.

Use only ripe summery tomatoes, juicy and sweetly intense, straight from the garden if you can. Get the best-quality buffalo mozzarella you can find. Serve with good crusty white bread. Enjoy!

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.

Are you looking for other Mozzarella recipes? Try Roasted Red Pepper Salad with Mozzarella and White Beans, Mozzarella and Cucumber Salad with Lemon and Caperberries, and Mozzarella with Crispy Tomato Crumbs.

We have lots of Tomato Salads. Try Tomato Salad with Lemon or Lime.

Browse all of our Ottolenghi recipes, and all of our Mozzarella dishes. Our Tomato recipes are here and our Salads here. Check out our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty. We have written about our experiences cooking through Plenty More.Or explore our Late Summer dishes.

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Jamie’s Pasta al Forno con Pomodori e Mozzarella | Baked Pasta with Tomatoes and Mozzarella

During a delightful week at my daughter’s place, running wild with the two kids, we had an informal Sunday lunch with friends and made this baked pasta dish from Jamie Oliver’s Jamie’s Italy. Jamie describes it as a wonderful dish which is simple to make, and he is right on both points.

He first fell in love with this dish in Italy, then tried to reproduce it in his school’s program for 37p per serve. He tells how he fell out of love with it because he had to use cheap pasta and cheap cheese. Back in Italy, he realised that the Italian government mandates organic pasta for schools, the mozzarella was always local and fresh and the tomatoes the best available. It makes all the difference! He says that this was the recipe that was made for 1,000 kids at the Italian school he visited.

The dish is very common in Italy, and can be eaten hot, warm and room temperature. Use the best ingredients that you can, and make two – you won’t regret it.

Similar recipes include Baked Ziti with Feta, Orecchiette with Broad Beans, 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. Or explore our Mid Summer dishes.

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The Little Italy Salad | Tomatoes with Mozzarella

Where would we be without tomatoes? Here is yet another version of a Tomato Salad, one that pairs them with Mozzarella. Fresh or traditional mozzarella can be used – both are great. Fresh Buffalo Mozzarella and Boccancini balls go so well with tomatoes, but so does the traditional, drier Mozzarella. Normally associated with pizza, it is also nice eaten sliced or cubed as part of an antipasto plate or in a salad. That’s the one we use today, but you can choose either.

Are you after other Mozzarella Salads? Try Caprese Salad, Marinated Buffalo Mozzarella and Tomato, Grilled Fennel with Fresh Mozzarella, Marinated Zucchini Salad with Bocconcini, and Mozzarella and Eggplant Torte.

Or other Tomato Salads? Try Fennel, Potato and Tomato Salad with Garlicky Mayonnaise, Red Pepper and Tomato Salad with Crispy Flatbread, Chilli and Lime, and Cherry Tomatoes with a Soy Dressing.

Browse all of our Tomato Salads, our Mozzarella Salads, or indeed all of our many many Salads. Or take some time to explore our Early Autumn dishes.

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Potato Salad with Smoked Buffalo Mozzarella

New potatoes in Autumn deserve special attention. They are simply gorgeous simmered, unpeeled, until tender then tossed while hot with butter, seasoning and finely chopped parsley.

Here we ramp up the flavours a little by tossing the cooked potatoes in pesto and mixing in smoked buffalo mozzarella. It is a magical combination, and gorgeous on a sunny Autumn day, sitting under the last of the grapevine leaves enjoying the sun and a bottle or two of wine.

This is my take on an Ottolenghi recipe in Plenty. He makes the salad with quail eggs. We do not use eggs in our kitchen, but we have found that either a good quality, soft and oozy buffalo mozzarella or some burrata are wonderful alternatives.

It is Ottolenghi Cook 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 books – those we have cooked directly and those we have been inspired by. Currently we are cooking mainly 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 recipes include Elizabeth David’s Potato Salad, Buratta with Leeks and Za’atarBeautiful, Simple Potato Salad, Grown Up Potato Salad, and Fennel, Potato and Tomato Salad with Garlicky Mayo.

Browse our Potato Salads and all of our Potato recipes. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through Plenty More. Or explore our Mid Autumn dishes.

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Artichoke Hearts with Mozzarella and Candied Citrus

Artichokes are not something that appear in our kitchen, ever. But they are used by Ottolenghi quite regularly in his recipes, so the hearts from the deli section have made an appearance. Recently we found a large jar of the best artichoke hearts, reasonably priced, in a crazy Vietnamese-Eastern European shop close by to my home. Fresh artichokes are still waiting to be braved – we can’t yet see the value-add for the work and price involved, to be frank.

This lovely recipe, from Plenty More, is one of Ottolenghi’s easiest if you use hearts or bases rather than fresh artichokes, and forgo candying the lemon rind. Then it takes just a few minutes to put the salad together. It is fresh and delicious. Frozen, jarred or deli-section hearts or bases can be used.

But we mixed it up (of course). The mozzarella we used is smoked. And we candied the peel and segments of cumquats from our cumquat tree using palm sugar. The result is dark peel and syrup but oh so very delicious. It takes about 15 mins to candy citrus peel, and it is worth doing for this salad. The sweetness contrasts well with the artichokes.

It is Ottolenghi day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish all the latest posts of recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi 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 Tomato and Lettuce Salad with Pickles and Croutons, Salad with Swiss Cheese and Rye, The Little Italy Salad, Artichoke and Potato Salad with Preserved Lemon Mayonnaise, Tomato and Lettuce Salad with Lemon, Mograbieh and Artichoke Pilaf, and Artichoke Hearts and Feta Salad with Tomatoes.

Browse all of our Artichoke recipes and our Mozzarella dishes. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Mid Autumn dishes.

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Roasted Red Pepper and White Bean Salad with Mozzarella

I have been cooking a lot of Indian dishes lately. Well, I always do, but it felt time to balance the South Indian flavours with a nice, fresh salad. So onto the grill (BBQ) went the red capsicums, plus eggplants for another (Indian) dish, and in the time it takes to sip my cuppa tea, they were all roasted to perfection. It is really the best way to roast peppers and eggplants.

This salad is a combination of the red peppers with home-cooked white beans (use canned if you like), mozzarella and some herbs. It is so simple really, but it is fresh and inviting, and absolutely healthy too.

Are you looking for other Red Pepper Salads? Try these:  Pasta and Roasted Pepper Salad with Walnuts, Light Pasta Salads, Radiant Autumn Salad of Peppers;  Rustic Spicy Butter Beans, Red Pepper and Tomato Salad with Crispy Flatbread, and Italian Roasted Red Pepper Salad.

Or perhaps you would like to be inspired by Salads in general. Try Gorgonzola and White Bean Salad with Chickpeas, Marinated Buffalo Mozzarella and Tomato, Green Peppers in Yoghurt, Tomato Salad with Green Olives, and Moroccan Carrot Salad.

Want more? Browse all of the Red Pepper Salads and all of our many and varied Salads. We love Bittman Salads, so have a look at those. Or explore all of the Capsicum recipes and our dishes suited to Early Autumn. Enjoy!

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