One-pot puttanesca, chickpea soup and spicy popcorn: Yotam Ottolenghi’s store-cupboard recipes (2024)

Store-cupboard cooking is a subject that will cause lots of eyes to roll and even more eyebrows to rise. My assumptions about people’s pantries have put me under so much fire in the past that I know a consensus is impossible. Still, the sense of accomplishment when you make a store-cupboard meal, with just a few fresh ingredients added for good measure, is immense. So please use today’s recipes less as instructions and more as a call for action: to raid the larder, spice shelf and the bottom of the fridge for a good spring clear-out.

Baked orzo puttanesca (pictured above)

The inspiration for this is the tuna melt, to which I am rather partial, so forgive me if that’s not up your street. This is a great way to use up tins, jars and bits of herbs and cheese that have been sitting around in the cupboard or fridge for too long, but I’ve also added a few fresh ingredients, such as basil and parmesan, to finish, so by all means substitute those for whatever you have in the house.

Prep 15 min
Cook 50 min
Serves 4

60ml olive oil
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped (150g)
6 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
½ tsp chilli flakes
3 anchovy fillets, drained and roughly chopped
2 tbsp capers
1½ preserved lemons, flesh discarded and skin thinly sliced into strips (12g net weight)
70g pitted kalamata olives, roughly torn in half
2 x 160g tins good-quality tuna in olive oil, drained and roughly flaked
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tin chopped tomatoes
250g orzo
Salt and black pepper
1-2 plum tomatoes (180g), cut into ½cm-thick rounds
40g parmesan, finely grated
1.5 tbsp basil leaves, roughly torn

Heat the oven to 220C (200C fan)/425F/gas 7. Put three tablespoons of oil into a large, ovenproof saute pan for which you have a lid, and heat on a medium-high flame. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for about eight minutes, or until softened and browned. Add the garlic, chilli and anchovies, cook for a minute more, until fragrant, then stir in the capers, half the lemon, 45g of the olives, tuna, tomato paste, tinned tomatoes, orzo, 450ml water, a teaspoon of salt and a generous grind of pepper. Bring to a simmer, then cover and transfer to the oven for 20 minutes, or until the orzo is cooked through.

Turn up the oven to 230C (210C fan)/450F/gas 8. Lift the lid off the pan, then haphazardly top the mixture with the sliced tomatoes, sprinkle over the cheese and return to the oven, uncovered, for 10-12 minutes, or until bubbling and lightly browned. Remove, leave to rest for about 10 minutes, then top with the remaining olives and preserved lemon, the basil and the remaining tablespoon of oil, and serve straight from the pot.

Tunisian spiced chickpea and bread soup (lablabi)

As long as you don’t forget to soak the chickpeas the day before, this soup is a meal in a bowl that will give you all the nourishment and intense flavours you could wish for. Different takes on the theme are widespread, with tinned tuna and olives often served instead of the egg, or alongside the soup.

One-pot puttanesca, chickpea soup and spicy popcorn: Yotam Ottolenghi’s store-cupboard recipes (1)

Soak Overnight
Prep 25 min
Cook 1 hr 15 min
Serves 6

400g dried chickpeas, soaked overnight in lots of cold water and 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
3 medium-heat dried red chillies
1 cinnamon stick
6 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 tbsp cumin seeds, toasted and finely crushed in a mortar
1 tbsp coriander seeds, toasted and finely crushed in a mortar
1 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp rose (or ordinary) harissa, plus extra to serve, if desired
90ml olive oil
Salt and black pepper
3 lemons, 1 juiced, to get 2 tbsp, the rest cut into wedges, to serve
4 tbsp coriander leaves, roughly chopped, plus extra chopped leaves to garnish
4 tbsp parsley leaves, roughly chopped
6 eggs
300g stale baguette (or other crusty bread), torn into roughly 1cm pieces
3 tbsp capers, drained
60g crisp onions, store-bought or homemade

Drain the chickpeas, then put them in large saucepan for which you have a lid. Add the bicarb, chillies, cinnamon and 2.2 litres of water, then bring to a boil on a medium-high heat, skimming off any froth as it does so. Cover the pan, then simmer the chickpeas on medium-low for 35-45 minutes, or until they are completely soft (depending on the age of the dried chickpeas, they might take longer).

Remove the lid, turn the heat to medium-high, then add the garlic, cumin and coriander seeds, tomato paste, harissa, three tablespoons of oil, two and a quarter teaspoons of salt and a generous grind of pepper. Simmer for 10 minutes, then stir through the lemon juice and herbs, and keep warm until ready to serve.

Poach the eggs until done to your liking. Meanwhile, divide the bread between six shallow bowls and ladle the soup over the top. Sprinkle with the capers and some chopped coriander, then top each portion with a poached egg. Scatter over the crisp onions, the remaining three tablespoons of oil and a little more harissa, if you want, and serve with the lemon wedges alongside.

Spicy dried shrimp and caramel popcorn

This grown-up take on popcorn came out of a cooking class I had with Debbie Teoh, the queen of Nyonya cooking, a wonderful regional Malaysian cuisine. Her version features tempeh, dried anchovies, sambal and tamarind paste, but I’ve gone for my childhood favourite, popcorn, and combined it with ingredients that are easier to come by in the UK. Once made, this popcorn will keep in an airtight container for a couple of days.

One-pot puttanesca, chickpea soup and spicy popcorn: Yotam Ottolenghi’s store-cupboard recipes (2)

Prep 5 min
Cook 1 hr 35 min
Serves 4 as a snack

2 tbsp sunflower oil
90g popcorn kernels
90g unsalted butter
100g soft light brown sugar
½ tsp flaked sea salt, plus extra to serve, if you like
¼ tsp baking powder
tsp chilli flakes
2 tbsp sriracha
30g dried shrimp

Heat the oven to 130C (120C fan)/285F/gas 1 and line a large oven tray with baking paper.

Put the oil in a large saucepan for which you have a lid, put on a medium heat and, once it’s quite hot, add the popcorn kernels and cover. Leave all the corn to pop, shaking the pan frequently, about five to six minutes, then tip into a large bowl and transfer about a third of it into a second bowl.

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan on a medium-high heat, then add the sugar and cook, stirring, for two to three minutes, or until foamy and bubbling. Add the salt, baking powder, chilli and sriracha, and stir vigorously to combine; the mixture will bubble profusely, so take care. Turn off the heat and stir in the shrimp.

Working quickly now, pour the caramel over the larger bowl of popcorn and mix to coat. Transfer to the prepared baking tray, spreading out the coated popcorn as much as possible, then bake for an hour, stirring two or three times, or until the popcorn is no longer sticky. Remove, then leave to dry out and cool completely – about 15 minutes.

To serve, transfer the spiced popcorn to a large bowl, stir in the reserved third of unspiced popcorn and add an extra sprinkling of flaked salt, if you like.

One-pot puttanesca, chickpea soup and spicy popcorn: Yotam Ottolenghi’s store-cupboard recipes (2024)
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