If anyone can convert a skeptic of vegetarian cuisine, it’s Yotam Ottolenghi, the London-based Israeli chef whose culinary empire includes several cookbooks, restaurants and a line of pantry products. While his ventures aren’t exclusively vegetarian (and neither is his personal diet), Ottolenghi is a modern pioneer of plant-based eating.
“I have been singing the praises of cauliflowers, tomatoes, lemons and my old friend the mighty eggplant for over a decade,” Ottolenghi writes in his latest cookbook, Ottolenghi Flavor, released this September with co-author Ixta Belfrage. “It’s become my mission to present vegetables in new and exciting ways.”
He has helped change the perception of this historically underwhelming category by homing in on the elements that take vegetables from supporting role to star of the table.
Flavor focuses on three aspects of cooking, each with its own section: Process, pairing and produce. “Process” refers to what happens to vegetables when they’re cooked a certain way (like root vegetables caramelizing from an oven roast). “Pairing” explains how to incorporate other ingredients to enhance a vegetable’s special qualities. And “produce” covers the natural, powerful potential of particular ingredients.
“It’s about understanding what makes vegetables distinct and, accordingly, devising ways in which their flavors can be ramped up and tasted afresh,” Ottolenghi writes. “It’s about creating flavor bombs, especially designed for veg.”
For a New Year’s dish fit for whichever form your holiday takes this year, Ottolenghi and Belfrage suggest their butternut squash, orange and sage galette. Ottolenghi tells Wine Spectator it’s “a celebration of layers, flavors and textures” that combines sweet and savory components for a delectable result. “The flaky pastry, featuring polenta and sage, adds a satisfying savory crunch that complements the sweetness of the vegetables, tartness of the maple orange–caramel and richness of the slow-cooked shallot mascarpone,” Ottolenghi says.
As an added bonus for holiday hosts, some parts can be prepped in advance. “The pastry will keep in the fridge for up to three days, or in the freezer for a month, so get ahead to avoid stress on the day,” he says. “You can also roast the vegetables the day before, bringing them back up to room temperature before you layer the galette.”
The recipe serves four for smaller gatherings but can easily be doubled; the authors suggest doubling the pastry portion regardless, to keep in the freezer for future use. Ottolenghi stresses not to skip the step of chilling the dough after rolling it out, which he calls “the key to a flaky pastry.”
He says all that’s needed to turn the dish into a well-rounded meal is “a crisp, green salad alongside,” like another Flavor recipe provided below—cucumber, za’atar and chopped lemon salad, which comes together in a matter of minutes.
Ottolenghi and Belfrage also recommend accompanying the tart with a Pinot Blanc wine. “This galette is sweet from the butternut, carrot and orange maple–caramel, which means it needs a dry, creamy white like Pinot Blanc to balance that sweetness,” Belfrage tells Wine Spectator. “There is a lot going on in this galette … Pinot Blanc happily acts as a versatile partner without stealing the show with too much of its own distinct aroma.”
Following the recipe, Wine Spectator highlights eight complementary white wines from France and Italy to choose from, or to inspire your own pairing exploration.
Butternut, Orange and Sage Galette
Reprinted with permission from Ottolenghi Flavor by Yotam Ottolenghi and Ixta Belfrage, copyright © 2020. Photographs copyright © 2020 by Jonathan Lovekin, except page 211 © Louise Hagger. Illustrations copyright © 2020 by Nishant Choksi. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House.
For the pastry:
- 3/4 cup (100 grams) all-purpose flour, plus more to dust
- 1/4 cup (30 grams) whole-wheat flour
- 2 tablespoons quick-cook polenta
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped sage leaves (about 6 leaves)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons superfine sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon flaked sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 4 teaspoons olive oil
- 6 tablespoons (80 grams) unsalted butter, fridge-cold and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1/4 cup ice-cold water
For the filling:
- 1 small butternut squash, skin on, seeded and sliced into 1/2-inch-thick half-moons
- 2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more to drizzle
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped sage leaves, divided, plus whole leaves to serve
- 2 teaspoons caraway seeds, toasted and roughly crushed
- Table salt and black pepper
- 1 head of garlic, top fifth cut off to expose the cloves
- 1 large shallot, skin on, top trimmed to expose the shallot
- 2 to 3 oranges: finely zested to get 1 1/2 teaspoons, then juiced to get 2/3 cup
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon mascarpone
- 1 egg, beaten
1. For the pastry: Mix together both flours, the polenta, sage, sugar, salt, pepper and olive oil in a large bowl. Add the butter and incorporate by lightly squashing each cube between your fingers. Don’t over-work; you want chunks throughout the dough. Add the water and use your hands to gather the dough together—it will be quite sticky. Transfer to a well-floured work surface and roll into an 11 by 7–inch rectangle, dusting the rolling pin, surface and pastry as you go. Fold the longer ends toward each other so they meet at the center and roll out once. Fold the shorter ends the same way, roll out once, then fold in half to make a square. Form the dough into a 5 1/2-inch–diameter circle, wrap tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
2. Preheat the oven to 450° F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. Toss the squash and carrots with the 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon of the chopped sage, the caraway seeds, 1 teaspoon salt and plenty of pepper. Spread out on the prepared baking sheets. Drizzle the garlic head and shallot with a little oil, wrap individually in aluminum foil, and add to the sheets. Roast the squash and carrots for 25 minutes, or until golden brown, and remove from the oven. Continue to roast the garlic and shallot for 15 minutes more, then set aside. When cool enough to handle, squeeze the garlic and shallot from their papery skins, finely chop and set aside.
3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Transfer the dough to a well-floured surface and roll out to a 12-inch circle, dusting your rolling pin as you go. Gently lift the dough onto the prepared baking sheet and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
4. Put the orange juice and maple syrup into a small saucepan on medium-high heat and cook for about 10 minutes, or until the liquid reduces to the consistency of a thickened, sticky maple syrup.
5. Put the mascarpone into a bowl with the chopped garlic and shallot, orange zest and remaining 1 tablespoon chopped sage. Season with a pinch of salt and plenty of pepper and stir everything together well.
6. Spread the mascarpone mixture over the dough, leaving a 1 1/2-inch rim around the edge. Cover with the squash and carrots, then drizzle with the orange syrup. Fold the pastry rim up and over the vegetables, brush the pastry with the egg, and bake for 30 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool for 20 minutes, then scatter with sage leaves before serving. Serves four as a main.
Cucumber, Za’atar and Chopped Lemon Salad
- 3 lemons
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 1/4 teaspoons dried mint
- 1 1/2 teaspoons za’atar
- 1 shallot, halved lengthwise and finely sliced (1/4 cup)
- 1 1/2 green chiles, finely sliced into strips (seeded for less heat)
- 1 large cucumber, halved lengthwise, watery center scooped out, cut at an angle into 1/4-inch-thick slices (2 1/2 cups)
- 1 teaspoon table salt
- 1 1/2 cups lamb’s lettuce
- 1/2 cup dill, roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup basil leaves
- 1/4 cup mint leaves
Squeeze 1 to 2 of the lemons into a large serving bowl to get 7 1/2 teaspoons of juice. Cut seven thin slices from the remaining lemon, saving any remaining for another recipe. Discard any seeds, then pile the slices on top of each other. Remove and discard half the rind from the sides, then finely chop the slices, including the remaining rind, and add to the bowl along with the olive oil, dried mint, za’atar, shallot, green chiles, cucumber and salt. Mix well, then add the lamb’s lettuce and all the herbs, toss gently, and serve at once. Serves four as a side.
8 Creamy, Dry White Wines
Note: The following list is a selection of outstanding and very good wines from recently rated releases. More options can be found in our Wine Ratings Search.
Bordeaux White Le G 2018
Score: 93 | $21
WS review: Showy, featuring peach, nectarine and apricot notes that evoke Sauternes, though the palate is dry, harnessed by bitter orange and almond accents. A lingering hint of green tea at the very end adds range. Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon. Drink now through 2023. 4,166 cases made. From France.—James Molesworth
Pinot Bianco Collio Russiz Superiore 2018
Score: 91 | $29
WS review: An elegant white, finely knit and fresh, with a spine of sleek acidity and a spicy mineral underpinning, this is light- to medium-bodied, offering flavors of Fuji apple, spring blossom and star fruit. Hints of pastry cream and smoke play on the supple finish. Drink now through 2025. 2,000 cases made. From Italy.—Allison Napjus
Alto Adige Cuvée Terlaner 2018
Score: 91 | $31
WS review: Rich flavors of melon, Gala apple, grated ginger and stony mineral are layered with sleek acidity, all framed in a svelte, elegant form. This is finely balanced and medium-bodied, with a lingering, mouthwatering finish displaying hints of spice, smoke and apple blossom. Pinot Bianco, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. Drink now through 2025. 18,333 cases made. From Italy.—A.N.
Riesling Alsace 2017
Score: 91 | $25
WS review: A sleek, minerally white, with well-cut acidity defining flavors of white peach, pine and preserved lemon, showing a rich hint of passion fruit coulis. Fine and creamy, offering a lasting finish. Drink now through 2027. 30,000 cases made. From France.—A.N.
Pinot Blanc Alsace 2017
Score: 90 | $24
WS review: A sleek, minerally white, featuring petrol and graphite accents on the nose that underscore the palate's passion fruit, persimmon and toast notes. Light- to medium-bodied and well-knit, with a racy finish. Drink now through 2023. 4,167 cases made. From France.—A.N.
JEAN-CLAUDE & CHRISTOPHE PICHOT
Vouvray Domaine Le Peu de la Moriette 2019
Score: 89 | $21
WS review: Shows nice richness, with creamy red pear, yellow apple and fig flavors offset by vibrant acidity, ending with a juicy and lively finish. A true crowd-pleaser. Drink now through 2025. 7,000 cases made. From France.—Aleksandar Zecevic
Pinot Bianco Alto Adige Schulthauser 2018
Score: 89 | $24
WS review: Orchard blossom and spice notes wind through flavors of ripe green pear and blanched almond, with a touch of lemon curd, in this creamy, light-bodied white. Clean-cut and mouthwatering. Drink now through 2023. 16,250 cases made. From Italy.—A.N.
Riesling Alsace Réserve 2017
Score: 89 | $16
WS review: A bright, minerally, light-bodied white, offering a creamy range of yellow plum, preserved lemon, delicate spice, sage and petrol notes. Clean-cut finish. Drink now through 2023. 12,500 cases made. From France.—A.N.