So, this started a long time ago in my repertoire as this recipe and wondering what on earth can I cook tonight? It’s evolved a fair bit from there in how I approached the method, and been enriched in terms of the ingredients we use too.
Mise en place
- Halloumi debrined, dried and cubed
Tend to put 1 block per 2 portions, ish… normally do 2 to cook for 3.
- Red Onion sliced into crescents root to tip
Similar portioning to the halloumi for large red onions, and adjust accordingly for smaller ones.
- Lemon/Lime Juice
A lemon or lime will normally suffice, though we usually just use bottled.
- Basil and Parsley, chopped
A handful of each, in part to taste.
- Chilli, chopped or as flakes
So, we use a blend of Crushed Chillies, Ancho Chilli Flakes and Chipotle Chilli Flakes. It can be done with fresh or frozen fresh chillies to good effect but will lose the smokiness.
- Pasta, ready to cook
Portion as you normally would, if you make fresh pasta that’s fantastic, else I would recommend Tagliatelle Paglia e Fieno, or a colourful Farfalle, but this can mostly be personal choice as long as it is apt for the sauce. (If possible reserving the debrining water from soaking the salt out of the halloumi is a great base for the pasta pot.)
- The Usual
i.e. Salt, Pepper, Oil.
Fry the halloumi
Heat the oil to a high/medium high heat and add the chilli, wait for it to be fragrant and add the halloumi, fry, stirring semi-frequently until a golden brown is achieved all over the halloumi, then remove from the pan and set aside.
Fry the onions
You may need to add some more oil to the pan, this is okay, reduce to a medium or even low heat depending on other timings. Giving the onions longer is never bad but stir frequently and ensure they are cooked through before the next step, giving them more time to caramelize is desirable.
Cook the pasta
With fresh this will be a matter of seconds or barely minutes so can be started after the onions have started, adjust when you start this as needed and cook to just short of al dente and reserve some cooking water.
Add the juice
Once happy with the onion, add the citrus juice and stir well through letting the favours mix into the onions and help the caramelisation.
Add the herbs
This should be just before the pasta is ready to be added, but stirring though with the citrus juice can be done in a pinch.
Add the pasta, then halloumi
Reduce the pan to a low heat and add the pasta and toss in the sauce, if needed add the reserved pasta water until you are happy with the sauce consistency, stir through the halloumi once happy.
Typically using tongs or a fork to make nests of pasta followed by piling the rest of the sauce on top is my go to, but this is obviously down to personal taste.