Spinach-halloumi pasta with caramelised onions

In the last 10 months, I have succumbed to takeaway far more often than I’d care to admit… the reason for this is not my inherent laziness, but rather the Munich supermarket timings! All major shops close at 8pm on weekdays, and of course, nothing is open on Sundays…

Last month, it was another one of those Sundays. I thought I had no food, but really felt like cooking. Determined to make it happen, I raided the fridge, freezer, and cupboard, and manage to conjure up a dish I was supremely happy with: spinach-halloumi pasta with caramelised onions. This conjuring relied on my past self buying 3 halloumi blocks in one go, a shared flat where we always have enough onions and garlic, and the magic of frozen spinach (of course, you could use fresh if you have it). It was so delicious that I vowed to make it again and write down the recipe properly, which is what you can find below!

What makes this dish shine is really the caramelised onions – I was inspired by Asma Khan’s book “Darjeeling Express” for those. The key is to be patient and really fry them on a low heat until they turn soft, golden, delicious, and sticky. They helped turn an odd cupboard-raid dish into something that felt really gourmet! I also used butter rather than olive oil to give it a bit of richness.

Give it a go and let me know what you think!

Sweet and beautiful caramelised onions

Spinach-halloumi pasta with caramelised onions

Ingredients

  • 1 large onion, sliced into half and then into rounds
  • 250g pasta (I used gemeli, but any type works)
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 8 parcels frozen spinach (around 150g)
  • 220g halloumi, chopped into 1 inch cubes
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Butter
  • Optional toppings: Fresh parsley, lemon juice, truffle oil, chili flakes, freshly ground black pepper

Method

  1. Melt a knob of butter in a large frying pan and add the onions. Turn the heat down very low and gently stir them. After 10 minutes, add salt (around 1/2 tsp) and keep monitoring them (not constantly, but just check and stir every now and then). After another 10 minutes (so 20 minutes in total), they should be golden brown and sticky –  feel free to taste and check, and otherwise fry them for another 5 minutes. Remove the onions and set aside in a small bowl.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil and cook the pasta for 1 minute less than the packet instructions (it will continue to cook later). Drain and toss with a bit of butter, so it doesn’t stick together.
  3. In the same pan where you fried the onions, melt a bit more butter and add the garlic and frozen spinach. Fry on medium heat until the spinach melts (not too high, else the garlic will burn), around 3-5 minutes.
  4. Add the halloumi and turn the heat up slightly, stirring constantly as you do.
  5. After 2-3 minutes, add the pasta into the pan and mix thoroughly.
  6. Turn off the heat and add the onions back in.
  7. Serve the pasta dish in bowls and add the other toppings if you desire – fresh parsley and lemon add a lovely zing, and the truffle oil makes it even more posh.

Enjoy!!

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