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Digital Subscriptions > delicious. Magazine > October 2018 > Ottolenghi’s COMFORT FOOD

Ottolenghi’s COMFORT FOOD

Yotam’s hotly anticipated new book, Ottolenghi Simple, proves that taking a less complicated approach to cooking needn’t mean losing out on flavour. Try these new recipes for an easier route to mealtime nirvana
Orzo with prawns, tomato and marinated feta

“Cooking shouldn’t be about S worrying what people think “

His legion of fans love his recipes for their sublime feats of flavour alchemy, but no one would describe Yotam Ottolenghi as the king of easy cooking. That’s about to change with his latest book (the clue is in the title…). In Simple there are dishes that take half an hour or less to make, recipes made from 10 ingredients or fewer, make-ahead wonders and ‘lazy’ dishes that look after themselves. But the flavour combinations are as alluring as ever.

HOW HE DID IT

Did Yotam find paring down the ingredient lists and putting a time limit on the recipes frustrating, like trying to swim with one hand tied behind his back? “Surprisingly not,” he laughs. “It reminded me of when I took it upon myself to write a vegetarian column for The Guardian 12 years ago, where I thought ‘Ah, that will really limit me.’ But actually, when you have limitations you really think creatively, and you come up with ways of enhancing flavours or visuals with much less.”

Paring back, according to Yotam, is like the Coco Chanel school of dressing, in which you take away one item from the ensemble and end up with something that looks – or tastes – even better for it. “It’s an editing process,” he says.

“You cook something, you have a taste and say, ‘What is essential in this thing?’ Do we really need three herbs or will one be enough?”

TRICKS OF THE (TIME-SAVING) TRADE

There are, says Yotam, “lots of nifty tricks that save you time. I like things that can be made in stages. If I make a sauce, I make three times as much and freeze two thirds in containers that I can defrost and turn into a sauce for braising eggs, or for grains or pasta.”

Shortcut ingredients such as tinned beans, frozen veg and shop-bought stock are kitchen allies in this Simple way of cooking. “I don’t see shortcuts as a problem,” he says. “Often things that come out of packets and tins are fine. I have frozen peas and corn, tinned chickpeas… For me, the rule is, if it doesn’t have a lot of ingredients that I don’t know, like E numbers and colourings, then I’m quite forgiving.”

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About delicious. Magazine

Ease into autumn with the October issue of delicious. magazine. Cosy up with Ottolenghi's simple comfort food, Debbie Major's satisfying sausage casseroles and the perfect autumn dessert – sticky toffee apple pudding. Follow the MasterChef finalists' guide to running your own supperclub and perfect your baking with our ultimate scone recipe and DIY garibaldi biscuits (aka squashed flies!). Our hearty vegetarian midweek dishes and main-meal soups will also keep you toasty and warm this month. Plus, don't miss all our fab foodie competitions and reader offers.

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