Pesto Pasta With White Beans and Halloumi

Ingredients

  • cup/75 milliliters olive oil

  • 6

    garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced

  • 1

    medium green serrano chile, stemmed and halved lengthwise

  • 1

    tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped

  • 2

    (15.5-ounce/400-gram) cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed 

  • 3

    cups (about 9 ounces/250 grams) short, twirled pasta, preferably gemelli or trofie pasta

  • 3

    cups/700 milliliters chicken or vegetable stock 

  • Kosher salt and black pepper

  • ¼

    cup/60 milliliters lemon juice (from 2 lemons)

  • 1

    block halloumi (around 7 ounces/200 grams), very finely grated

Preparation

  1. Prepare the pasta: Add the oil to a large, lidded sauté pan, and then place it over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the garlic and chile, and cook for 2 minutes, stirring often, until the garlic is nicely golden. Stir in the thyme, beans, pasta, stock, 2 teaspoons salt and plenty of pepper, and bring to a simmer. Turn the heat to medium, cover, and cook for 12 minutes. Remove from the heat and let sit, with the lid off, for about 5 to 10 minutes. This will help it absorb more of the liquid.
  2. As the pasta cooks, make the pesto: To a food processor, add the nuts, garlic, arugula (rocket), parsley, half the oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a good grind of pepper. Pulse a few times, scraping down the sides and pulsing again until you have a coarse paste. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in the remaining olive oil, adding a touch extra if needed to loosen the pesto.
  3. When ready to serve, stir the lemon juice and half the pesto into the pasta (discard the chile, if you wish) and transfer to a large serving bowl or platter with a lip. Sprinkle over about half the halloumi, and serve with the extra halloumi and pesto to eat alongside.