This recipe is a favourite winter warmer from Rachel's Green Seasons Cookbook. Puy lentils give this pasta dish a robust wintry feel, and the gremolata adds a warm chilli kick.
Haloumi and Puy Lentil Pasta
- 100g puy lentils
- 340ml water
- ½ tsp bouillon powder
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 small bulbs of fennel, finely sliced
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 250g haloumi, thickly sliced (3/4 cm)
- 125g baby spinach
- 2 tbsps crème fraîche
- 2 tbsps fresh parsley, chopped
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 75-100g festoni or penne per serving
- 3 small red chillies, deseeded and roughly chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
- 3 tsps fresh oregano, chopped
- 2 slices white bread, crusts removed
- 1 tsp olive oil
- Place the puy lentils in a pan with the bay leaf, boullion powder and water and simmer until tender, adding more liquid if necessary. When cooked drain, rinse under cold water. Set aside.
- To make the gremolata: n a mini food processor, whiz the chillies, garlic, oregano and white bread to a breadcrumb consistency. Heat the olive oil in a small frying pan and stir-fry until golden and crispy, then decant onto a piece of paper towel to absorb any excess oil.
- Fry the fennel in the olive oil, until it has softened and starts to caramelize.
- Set the fennel to one side and dry fry the haloumi until golden on both sides. Chop into chunks.
- Cook the festoni or penne in a big pan of boiling water with a pinch of salt and a drop of olive oil.
- When the pasta is cooked “al dente”, drain off most of the water leaving a couple of tablespoons in the pan. Keep the heat on very low. Stir in the crème fraîche, parsley, spinach, puy lentils, fennel and haloumi.
- When the spinach has wilted and everything has heated through season to taste and serve with a sprinkling of the gremolata.
Photo by Mark Wood