If you asked me what my favorite cheese is, I would not be able to pick just one, but I can assure you that haloumi would be a top contender. I enjoy the firm texture, and when fried, it yields a crispy, salty skin that’s irresistible. Using it to top this pasta, which has a fresh, creamy flavor from the pesto, makes for the perfect balance of flavors.
Cook the pasta in a large pot filled with salted boiling water until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup cooking water. Drain the pasta and set aside.
In the same skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add the reserved cooking water, pecorino, Kalamata olives, salt, and pepper and sauté for two to three minutes.
Carefully stir in the pasta and cook until heated through. Transfer to a large bowl and mix with half the pesto, adding more if needed.
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over a medium-high flame. Add the haloumi strips and fry without stirring until the bottoms of the strips are well browned.
Using a spatula, flip the strips and fry on the other side until browned. Transfer to a plate. Pour out the remaining oil.
Blend the pistachios, mint, basil leaves, garlic, and olive oil in a blender or food processor.
If the paste seems too thick, add more olive oil.
To serve, layer the pasta, fried haloumi strips, and more pecorino. Serve hot.
After eating some kinds of pecorino cheese one must wait six hours before eating meat. See more on this, including a list of all hard cheeses that require waiting, here.