Yotam Ottolenghi’s mushroom recipes (2024)

Mushrooms are little flavour sponges that will soak up just about anything you throw at them. Given the opportunity, they will also eagerly release their own extraordinary, savoury assets and meaty textures.

It takes a bit of know-how to unleash that potential, and those friendly fungi do need a bit of tough love every now and then. Tear, shred or mince them before subjecting them to searing heat and lots of oil both to stop them from going sloppy-squidgy and to ensure you get that full-on, delicious, mushroomy umami delight.

Confit oyster mushrooms with lemon aïoli (pictured above)

The flavoured oil you get from the initial cooking of the mushrooms is used later both in the aïoli and to give the mushrooms a final sear. You’ll still have some left over, though, so don’t let it go to waste: drizzle it over salads or roast veg. If you can’t get baby king oyster mushrooms, use another wild mushroom instead, or 800g oyster mushrooms in total. I like these with toasted sourdough.

Prep 15 min
Cook 1 hr 45 min
Serves 4 as a starter

600g oyster mushrooms, roughly torn in half if large
200g baby king oyster mushrooms
10 sprigs fresh thyme
3 large sprigs fresh rosemary
2 bay leaves
1 tsp dried pink peppercorns, lightly crushed, plus ¾ tsp extra, to serve
2 lemons – zest of 1 finely shaved, to get 8 strips, and juiced, to get 1½ tsp, the other cut into 4 wedges, to serve
6 garlic cloves, peeled and bashed with the flat of a knife
Flaked sea salt
600ml olive oil
2 egg yolks
1 tsp dijon mustard
1½ tbsp sunflower oil
1½ tbsp finely chopped parsley

Put the mushrooms in a large saucepan with the thyme, rosemary, bay, crushed peppercorns, lemon peel, five garlic cloves and two teaspoons of flaked salt. Pour over the oil – the mushrooms won’t be completely submerged initially – and put on a medium-high heat. Once the oil starts to bubble very gently, turn the temperature to its lowest setting and cook, uncovered, for an hour, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are tender. Strain off 100ml of the oil and set aside to cool, so it can be used in the aïoli.

Strain the mushrooms through a sieve, reserving the remaining cooking oil but discarding the bay leaves, lemon peel and any large herb sprigs. (If you’re not eating the mushrooms straight away, transfer them to a clean glass jar, along with all the remaining oil and aromatics, and refrigerate for up to four days.)

To make the aïoli, put the remaining garlic clove in the small bowl of a food processor with the egg yolks, mustard, lemon juice and half a teaspoon of flaked salt. Blend to a smooth paste and, with the motor running, add the sunflower oil in a slow, steady stream, followed by the cooled mushroom cooking oil, until the mix emulsifies into a thick mayonnaise.

To finish, put a large saute pan on a high flame and, once it’s very hot, add half the drained mushrooms and a tablespoon and a half of their cooking oil, and fry for about five minutes, until golden in places. Stir through half the parsley, then transfer to a bowl and repeat with the remaining mushrooms, another tablespoon and a half of their oil and the remaining parsley.

Spoon the mushrooms on to four plates, top with a generous spoonful of aïoli, sprinkle over a pinch of crushed pink peppercorns and serve with the lemon wedges alongside.

The ultimate tray-bake ragu

Yotam Ottolenghi’s mushroom recipes (1)

There’s no denying this ingredients list is a bit on the long side, but it all helps to give this vegan (provided you use vegetable stock) ragu its fantastic umami-ness. The method, however, couldn’t be simpler: if you have a food processor, pulse the first six ingredients until finely chopped, which will save lots of time. You can get ahead by making the ragu up to three days in advance and keeping it in the fridge; when you reheat it, let it down with a little water or stock, to loosen. Serve over pasta, polenta, rice or any vegetable mash.

Prep 25 min
Cook 1 hr 30 min
Serves 6

3 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
2 onions, peeled and finely chopped
300g oyster mushrooms, finely chopped
60g dried porcini, roughly blitzed
4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
350g plum tomatoes (ie, about 3-4), finely chopped
120ml olive oil
70g white miso paste
40g rose harissa paste
4 tbsp tomato paste
90ml soy sauce
2 tsp cumin seeds, crushed
180g dried brown or green lentils
100g pearl barley
1 litre vegetable (or chicken) stock
160g coconut cream
100ml red wine
Salt and black pepper
15g basil leaves, finely chopped

Heat the oven to 210C (190C fan)/ 410F/gas 6½. Mix the first 12 ingredients in a large, 36cm x 28cm nonstick baking tin and roast for 40 minutes, stirring once halfway, until golden brown and bubbling.

Reduce the heat to 200C (180C fan)/390F/gas 6, and stir all the remaining ingredients except the basil into the tin with 150ml water, half a teaspoon of salt and a very generous grind of black pepper, scraping up the crisp sides and base with a spatula as you go.

Cover tightly with foil, bake for 40 minutes more, then remove the foil and bake for a final five minutes. Set aside to rest for 15 minutes, sprinkle the basil on top and serve.

Spicy mushroom lasagne

Yotam Ottolenghi’s mushroom recipes (2)

Four types of mushroom and two types of cheese give this lasagne the most satisfying, savoury intensity that, to my mind, makes it the most glorious meat-free lasagne you’ll ever have. There’s a fair amount of heat here, so to make it child-friendly, reduce the amount of pepper and omit the chilli altogether. If you don’t have a round, 28cm baking dish, use a 30cm x 20cm rectangular one. To get ahead, build the lasagne one day, chill, then bake the next.

Prep 30 min
Cook 2 hr
Serves 6

750g chestnut mushrooms, halved
500g oyster mushrooms
135ml olive oil, plus a little extra for greasing
Salt and black pepper
60g dried porcini
30g dried wild mushrooms
2 dried red chillies, roughly chopped
500ml hot vegetable stock
1 onion, peeled and quartered
5 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
1 carrot, peeled and quartered
2 plum tomatoes, quartered
75g tomato puree

130ml double cream
60g pecorino romano, finely grated
60g parmesan, finely grated
5g basil leaves, finely chopped
3 tbsp finely chopped parsley leaves, plus 1 tsp extra, to serve
240g dried lasagne (ie, about 14 sheets)

Heat the oven to its highest setting (or 230C fan). In four or five batches, finely chop the fresh mushrooms in a food processor on the pulse setting, then tip into a large bowl and toss with three tablespoons of oil and a teaspoon of salt. Spread out on a large, 40cm x 35cm oven tray lined with baking paper, and roast for 20 minutes in the top third of the oven, stirring once halfway, until the mushrooms are golden brown. Remove and turn down the oven to 220C (200C fan)/425F/gas 7.

Meanwhile, put the dried mushrooms, chillies and hot stock in a large bowl and leave to soak for half an hour. Strain into a second bowl, squeezing as much liquid out of the mushrooms as possible; you should get about 340ml liquid in total, so top up with water, if need be. Very roughly chop the rehydrated chillies and mushrooms. Put the onion, garlic and carrot in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped.

Heat 60ml oil in a large saute pan on a medium-high heat, then fry the onion mix for eight minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft and golden. Pulse the tomatoes in the food processor until finely chopped, then add to the pan with the tomato puree and a teaspoon and a half each of salt and finely cracked black pepper. Cook for seven minutes, stirring occasionally, then add the rehydrated mushroom mix and the roast mushrooms, and cook for seven minutes more, resisting the urge to stir too much: you want them to go slightly crisp and brown on the bottom. Stir in the reserved mushroom liquid and 800ml water and, once it comes up to a simmer, reduce the heat to medium and cook for 18 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mix reduces to a ragu consistency. Stir in 100ml of the cream, simmer for two minutes, then turn off the heat.

Mix both cheeses and both herbs in a small bowl. To assemble the lasagne, spread a fifth of the sauce in the base of a round, 28cm baking dish, top with a fifth of the cheese, followed by a layer of lasagne sheets, broken to fit as necessary. Repeat these layers three more times, then finish with a final layer of sauce and top with the last of the cheese.

Drizzle a tablespoon of cream and a tablespoon of oil over the top, cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes. Remove the foil, turn up the oven to 240C (220C fan)/465F/gas 9, and bake for 10 minutes more, turning the dish halfway, until the edges are brown and crisp. Leave to rest for five or so minutes, then drizzle over the remaining tablespoon each of cream and oil, sprinkle with the extra parsley and serve hot.

Yotam Ottolenghi’s mushroom recipes (2024)
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