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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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.

Continue reading “Jamie’s Pasta al Forno con Pomodori e Mozzarella | Baked Pasta with Tomatoes and Mozzarella”

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 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 Beautiful, 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 PeppersRustic 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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Green Tomato and Mozzarella Salad

I look forward to having green tomatoes from the garden – I love the tartness in salads, salsa, and topping other dishes (adding a real zing to them). Just occasionally my green grocer stocks them too.

This is a salad which is good with fresh mozzarella, either balls (big or small), plaits or long strings. We like to rip them open, roughly, spreading them over the plate, and topping with our other ingredients. Oh yum!

This recipes layers fresh mozzarella with green tomatoes and basil or other herbs. I know that you will enjoy it.

Are you looking for other Mozzarella dishes? Try The Little Italy Salad, Roast Red Pepper Salad with Mozzarella and White Beans, Mozzarella Salad with Crispy Tomato Crumbs, and Cheese and Eggplant Torte with Mozzarella.

What about other Green Tomato recipes? Try Green Tomato and Pineapple Salsa, Marinated Zucchini with Tomatoes, and Green Tomato Salsa.

You can browse all Mozzarella dishes, and all Green Tomato dishes. All of our Tomato Salad recipes are here and our Salads in total are here. Or simply explore our Mid Summer dishes.

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Fresh Mozzarella Salad with Tomatoes, Cucumber and Pomegranate Molasses

This dish of beautiful fresh buffalo mozzarella balls has saved me many a time, late at night, tired from a long day, collapsed in front of the television. Mozzarella balls are torn apart, tomatoes, cukes and herbs added, and pomegranate molasses drizzled over.

Tearing the fresh Mozzarella adds great texture, great mouth-feel, and a much more interesting look than slicing. Never slice the large balls unless absolutely necessary.

Try these other fresh Buffalo Mozzarella recipes: Marinated Buffalo Mozzarella and Tomato, Green Tomato and Mozzarella Salad, Roasted Red Pepper Salad with Fresh Mozzarella, Mozzarella and Cucumber Salad with Caperberries, and Marinated Zucchini Salad with Bocconcini.

Or try Cucumber, Feta, Mint and Dill Salad.

Browse all of our Mozzarella recipes here, and all of our many many Salads. Or explore our beautiful Late Summer dishes.

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Tapenade Bread Salad with Tomatoes and Mozzarella

Today’s salad takes some olive tapenade and olive oil and smothers bread in it. As it soaks in, cubes of the bread are mixed with tomatoes to make a gorgeous salad. A fun alternative to including olives, and adds a bit of bulk to the dish.

This is also a great way to use up left over bread that might be only good for toast. The firmer texture of this bread is perfect for salads as it soaks up the juices of tomatoes and dressings.

Are you looking for similar Tomato Salads? Try this one which combines crispy flatbread, tomatoes and red peppers. And our favourite of Fresh Mozzarella, tomatoes and cucumbers.

Also try Dates and Spinach Salad with Almonds and Sumac, Na’ama’s Fattoush, Simple Tomato and Bread Salad, Warm Tomato SaladTomato and Basil Salad with Grilled Cheese Croutons, and Artichoke Hearts with Tomatoes.

Browse all of our Tomato Salads. Our Bittman Salads are here. Or take some time to explore all of our many many Salads. Alternatively, check out our easy Late Summer recipes.

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Roasted Red Pepper Salad with Mozzarella and White Beans | Roasted Red Capsicum Salad

Another beautifully coloured salad for Autumn, beautiful reds of the roasted capsicums. Here we toss them with white beans, fresh mozzarella and a little shallot.

Don’t you just love roasted peppers? While you are roasting them for this salad, add another 1 or 2 or 12, so that you can used them throughout the week. I find it easiest to roast peppers and eggplants on my covered BBQ, but you can also do it over a gas flame on your stove, under a grill or in the oven.

Would you like to try other Red Pepper/ Capsicum Salads? Try Radiant Autumn Salad of Peppers, Red Pepper and Tomato Salad with Crispy Flatbread, Chilli and Lime, Peperoni in Padella – Roasted Red Peppers Salad, and Sweet Red Pepper Salads. There is a Roast Pepper Relish too.

Or try other Capsicum Dishes – Green Peppers in Yoghurt, Pumpkin Soup with Red Peppers, and Stuffed Capsicums with Kidney Beans and Feta. Also see How to Dry Red Capsicums.

And please try our The Little Italy Salad, Quinoa, Parsley and Lemon Salad with White BeansGreen Tomato and Mozzarella Salad, and Tapenade Bread Salad with Tomatoes and Mozzarella.

Explore all of our Capsicum Salads and all of our Salads. You can browse other Capsicum recipes too. Or browse our Early Autumn dishes.

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Cheese and Eggplant Torte | Cheesy Eggplant Layers

Yet another divine use for eggplant – such a versatile vegetable. This time it is a cheesy torte – eggplants layered, Italian style, with cheeses, baked, allowed to rest and firm up, then cut into wedges to serve. What could be better? It makes a great lunch or supper, or works very well in a tapas spread, mezze or antipasto. It even makes a great any-time snack.

Eggplant is so flexible, and very variation tastes so good. You can bake it, simmer it, stuff it, crumb it, steam it, BBQ it, grill it, roast it, saute it and deep fry it. I hope you try some of these recipes.

It makes great Indian style Chutney, Curries, Salads, Fritters, Pasta Sauces, Rice dishes, and gentle dishes.

As well as all of these Eggplant recipes, you might like to also browse our Italian recipes and our easy Late Summer dishes.

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Mozzarella and Cucumber Salad with Caperberries and Lemon

The soft flavours of fresh mozzarella pair with the tang of preserved lemon and caperberries.

Fresh Mozzarella is ideal for salads, having a creamy texture but soft flavour, so it compliments strong and tangy flavours. It also heightens dishes like grilled fennel, or produces soft and gentle flavours when paired with other soft flavours.

This salad has the softness of cucumber and mozzarella, and the tang of caperberries and preserved lemon. Each level of flavour is evident. It is a great summery salad.

Are you looking for similar Salads? Pease try our Tapenade Bread Salad with Tomatoes and Mozzarella. You may also like Grilled Fennel with Mozzarella and Beetroot Salad with Honey and Ginger.

Browse our other Mozzarella dishes, and our other salads too. Or explore our Late Summer collection of dishes.

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Mozzarella Salad with Crispy Tomato Crumbs

Fresh Mozzarella balls, tomatoes, basil, olive oil and pomegranate are always a perfect combination.

There is a great salad that I make which consists of torn mozzarella balls, olive oil, pomegranate molasses, tomatoes, cucumber, pomegranate seeds when I can get them. It is easy, quick and very satisfying and it more often than not will form a complete meal for me. This is a twist on that salad.

You might also like to try Grilled Fennel with Mozzarella, Fresh Mozzarella Salad with Tomatoes and Cucumbers, and Tapenade Bread Salad with Tomatoes and Mozzarella.

All the Mozzarella recipes are here. And Salad recipes are here and here. Or find some inspiration in the Summer recipes here and here.

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Grilled Fennel with Fresh Mozzarella

10 minutes and this salad is done.

Are you like me? Hate those 6pm meetings that are catered? Few vegetarian options except for chips and other deep fried snacks. I have one of those meetings tonight, but thankfully I have it licked.

Around 4pm I stopped work and made this salad. It is Nigel Slater’s originally, but I have adopted it as my own over time. I do love his way with vegetables. Simple.

Are you after other Fennel Salads? Try Fennel Salad with Orange Vinaigrette, Fennel, Potato and Tomato Salad with Garlicky Mayo, Fennel and Apple Salad and Fennel and Fresh Prune Salad.

We also particularly like Fennel on the BBQ and Slow Baked Fennel with Chilli, Garlic and Orange.

Also try Fresh Mozzarella Salad with Tomatoes and Cucumbers.

Browse all of our Fennel recipes and all of our many Salad recipes. Explore the Mozzarella recipes here. Or be inspired by our collection of Mid Spring recipes.

Continue reading “Grilled Fennel with Fresh Mozzarella”