I am in the throws of an intimate relationship with Ottolenghi. I take it to bed, fall asleep with it in my arms, and think about it when I’m strolling through my day. As much as I hate the use of this word to describe anything related to food–it sounds so damn pretentious and snobby– the book is approachable (ahh, there it is. And now you can hear the local sommelier going on some preachy diatribe about approachable tannins and relatable mouth feel..blah blah blah). But in all seriousness, Yotam Ottolenghi & Co simply deliver recipes and techniques from an unfamiliar culture to me in a way that excites and delights. So frequently I find cook books to be an exclusive conversation between a chef and his mirror, an arrogant array of feel-good notes about how great that sourdough starter was one time at band camp. I do not like that.
But I do like this, and so far every recipe has been a slam dunk, home run, insert your favorite #winning sports reference here. This one in particular is just plain fan-freaking-tastic, but I highly recommend going to your local Amazon.com and ordering yourself a copy for a great bedtime story. Don’t be scared off by the occasionally alien list of ingredients (roses make water? Yes, and it is bewitching)– you can find most of them at your local hippie store, Whole Foods, or somewhere else in your neighborhood I couldn’t possibly tell you about because I plum don’t exist there. Google it.
The meatballs are another magical adventure, folks. Stay tuned for the most ball-tastic ride of your life, courtesy of your local lamb and cow factory.
- 3 c cooked green lentils (Trader Joe's has them in the fresh section)
- 1 c uncooked basmati rice
- 3 T butter
- 6 oz fresh rice noodles/vermicelli noodles, cut into 1½ pieces
- 1⅔ c chicken broth
- ½ t grated nutmeg
- 1½ t cinnamon
- 1½ t salt
- ½ t pepper
- 4 T olive oil
- 2 large white or yellow onions, thinly sliced
- Wash and drain rice-- set aside.
- In a frying pan, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. When hot, add the onion and cook, stirring constantly, until onions are brown and soft-- 20-30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the rice noodles and cook, stirring frequently, until golden brown (5-7 minutes).
- Add the rice and stir until coated in the butter.
- Add the stock, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, cover, and lower the heat to a simmer for 12 minutes.
- Turn off the heat and wrap the lid with a dishtowel, then place back on the pan. Leave for 5 minutes.
- Gently break up the rice with a fork, stir in the lentils and most of the onions.
- Pile high on a serving platter and garnish with the remaining onions. Enjoy!