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in the kitchen with: yotam ottolenghi’s taleggio roulade

by Kristina Gill

Earlier this year, Yotam Ottolenghi shared a recipe for spinach with fresh cheese and sumac. At the same time, he generously offered another recipe for a spinach and taleggio roulade with semi-dried tomatoes. Taleggio is a a soft but slightly aged cheese that comes from the Lombard region of Italy, and a few areas in the Veneto region. Its flavor melds with the sharper Pecorino cheese, tomatoes, spinach and basil to produce a wonderful savory slice with layers of Mediterranean flavors. If you’ve ever wanted to make your kitchen a bit more like Ottolenghi’s, you’re in luck. Leiths Cooking School is offering Ottolenghi cooking classes in 2011. If I lived in London, I’d already be signed up! — Kristina

About Yotam: After years in the food service industry, Yotam Ottolenghi, along with Noam Bar and Sami Tamimi, set up Ottolenghi, a unique food shop offering a wide range of freshly made savory dishes, baked products and patisserie items. They now have four locations in London and are working on a fifth restaurant with a new concept scheduled to open in early 2011.  Ottolenghi: The Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi was published in 2008 and sold over 100,000 copies.  Ottolenghi’s second book of vegetarian recipes, Plenty, was released earlier this year.

CLICK HERE for the full recipe (and more about Yotam) after the jump!

Yotam writes ‘The New Vegetarian” column in the Guardian’s Weekend Saturday magazine. He lives with his partner, Karl, in west London.

(Portrait of Yotam and images of Ottolenghi shop by Keiko Oikawa)

Taleggio and Spinach Roulade (serves 6)

Dough Ingredients

  • 160 ml (2/3 cup) full-fat milk
  • 2 tsp dried active yeast
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • 3½ tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 whole medium egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 350 g (3 cups minus one tablespoon) strong white flour (bread flour)

Filling Ingredients

  • 80 g (3 ounces) crème fraiche
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 100 g (3.5 ounces) baby spinach leaves
  • 20 g (1 ounce) basil leaves
  • 100 g (3.5 ounces) Pecorino cheese, grated
  • 250 g (9 ounces) Taleggio cheese, sliced (or substitute with a mixture of cheddar and mozzarella)
  • 100 g (3.5 ounces) semi-dried marinated tomatoes

To Finish

  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 handful of poppy seeds


1. In a small saucepan, warm up the milk very slightly, just to about 30°C/85°F. Add the yeast and stir to dissolve. Set aside for about 10 minutes to activate the yeast.

2. Place the rest of the dough ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer. Add the yeast and milk and work with a dough hook on slow speed for about 2 minutes. Increase to high speed and knead for another 7 minutes, by which point the dough should become a smooth, shiny ball (this process could also be done by hand; you will probably need to knead the dough for an extra 5–10 minutes).

3. Transfer the dough to a large bowl brushed with a little oil. Cover the bowl with a wet cloth and put it somewhere warm. After about 45 minutes, once the dough has doubled in size, line a 30 cm x 40 cm (roughly 12 in. x 16 in.) oven tray with greaseproof paper.

4. Transfer the dough to a work surface dusted very lightly with flour and roll it out thinly so it reaches the size of the tray. Line the tray with the dough, pulling it right out into the corners. Cover with the tea towel again and leave for 30 minutes.

5. Once the rolled-out dough has risen significantly, cover it with the filling. Use a palette knife to spread the crème fraiche all over the surface, sprinkle salt and then scatter the spinach, basil, Pecorino, Taleggio and tomatoes.

6. Carefully pick up one of the longer sides of the dough and roll and push it all up into a neat spiral log shape. Stand the log on the seam so it doesn’t unravel when baked. Cover the tray in the tea towel again and leave for another 30 minutes.

7. Preheat the oven to 200°C/390°F .

8. Brush the roulade’s surface gently with the beaten egg and then scatter on the poppy seeds. Make sure the oven has reached 200°C/390°F and then put the tray inside. After 10 minutes, reduce the temperature to 160°C/320°F.

9. Continue baking for roughly 25 minutes. Don’t worry if the roulade breaks or cracks a little. When ready, it should have taken on a nice dark brown color. Stick a sharp knife inside to check. It should come out with some melted cheese but no dough.

10. Remove the roulade from the oven, allow it to cool down a little (or completely) and cut into thick slices. Serve immediately with a salad.

This recipe originally appeared on Waitrose.com in May 2008.

Images by Kristina Gill. Cadet blue spinach dish by Gustavsberg; graphite square candle dish by SIA Home Fashion; blue bowl by Christiane Perrochon; salad plate (slate) by mud australia; napkin by Orskov; all other items vintage.

Why Yotam Chose This Recipe
I chose this wonderful recipe because it is luscious and a pure comfort. It’s the sort of “cake” you can just eat on its own, but also goes well in combination with almost anything else.

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  • I ate at the restaurant in London. I am very big fan of the types of food they make.
    It’s so delicious. Also the book is highly recommended because it is very well explained and it feels like you do not keep secrets undisclosed.

  • I bought the original Ottolenghi book for my husband and got a lot of points (he loved it). We pored over all the recipes and photographs and finally realized one sad thing: their salads are so gorgeously displayed — in London. In the US, health code rules are such that it’s illegal to have the salads out and about in a restaurant/catering spot, strutting their stuff. Gorgeous fresh foods have to be locked up in refrigerator cases, Stateside! Such a shame!

  • ah!! where did you get your plates and bowls at?!? i’m at a photo shoot for a client right now and looked high and low for gray, black or pewter tableware and had zero luck. i actually had to spray paint a few just to get enough to make due… :( can you point me in the right direction?

  • @Sara @ the by and by: the slate plate is by mud australia, the pewter graphite looking square candle dish is by SIA home Fashion I don’t think it’s food safe though, I realize as I write this…

    I usually try to include the designers of everything I use when I do the photography, so you will find links within the post above.

    I also have a black plate by Christiane Perrochon and one by an Italian company called Laboratorio Pesaro from the St Tropez and Montefeltro lines.

    I believe you can find all of these, except SIA in the US.

  • Hi Sara,

    The slate plate is by mud australia, the bowl is by Christiane Perrochon, and the graphite square candle dish is by SIA Home Fashion. I also own a black plate by Laboratorio Pesaro and one by Christiane Perrochon. All of these, except SIA appear to be available in the United States.

    Whenever I do the photography on the column, I do try to include links to the designers/companies whose pieces I use in case readers are curious.


  • Love it, like I love all Ottolenghis recipes. I have the first book, and wish I had the second. I’m going to try this soon with ricotta and mozzarella. It looks SO GOOD! Thank you for sharing the recipe!

  • Plenty is the best cook book I’ve bought not only this year, but at all. I love all the recipes I’ve tried so far. I also managed to visit the restaurant this year and it was fantastic.

  • I know I know vegetarian but I initially looked at the picture and thought mmm bacon and crusty bread! I am still thinking mmm taleggio, pecorino, spinach and sun dried tomatoes and yes still with a side of bacon. Looks great!

  • This looks SO good! I make something similar (with various different fillings) but always just called them ‘those stuffed bread roll things.’ Who knew they have a beautiful name! ;)

    This combination of ingredients sounds divine. I’ve also never made my dough with eggs – can’t wait to try that.

    In the Kitchen With is my favorite d*s column. Thanks for another mouthwatering installment!

  • I actually think bacon would be good but it won’t crisp up inside, so you could either put it in your salad, try adding it on top half way through cooking, or use some other sort of prosciutto or something inside. (My husband thought it was prosciutto when he saw it in the kitchen too)

  • this makes me miss living in London so much….I lived only a block from the original ottolenghi in notting hill….it was the first place I ever tried macaroons…and a million other wonderful things. Love these memories. Thanks.

  • Leigh, I don’t see any reason you shouldn’t, but if by “cheating” you mean buying dough already made, you could try a pizza dough or something similar. I saw some Pillsbury products last time I was shopping in the US whoch would be perfect, but I know there are many other options. You would probably need two of them though, because this roll is vvveerrry long if you follow the recipe without modifications.

  • this looks delicious! Its funny because just last night i bought a hunk of Telaggio cheese because it was on sale and i had never tried it before. It was so delicious. its reason enought to try this recipe! thanks

  • i find yotan recipes absolutely the best! i went to his notting hill and belgravia shops as well (during my last stay in london) and just can’t wait to return! even if taleggio is not my fav i will try for sure this recipe – maybe i will replace taleggio with some goat brie??

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