Artichoke, watercress, olive and halloumi pasta with preserved lemon

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Appears in

Vegetables: The new food heroes


By Peter Gordon

Published 2007

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This recipe is one of those magic dishes you can make from store cupboard items, provided you’ve done a little wise deli shopping. Choose a good brand of artichokes, preferably in olive oil, and interestingly shaped pasta. You could have this knocked up in under 15 minutes as long as you can manage three pots or pans on the stove at once.


  • 350–400 g dried pasta (depending on how hungry you are)
  • vegetable oil for deep-frying
  • 200 g halloumi, cut into 1cm dice
  • 2 tablespoons olive or avocado oil
  • large handful of stoned olives
  • ½ green chilli (more or less to taste)
  • 250 g jar of artichoke wedges in olive oil, drained but reserving the oil
  • large bunch of watercress, cut into 2cm lengths, stems and all (rocket also works well)
  • 2 tablespoons diced preserved lemon


Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to the boil and cook the pasta until al dente or according to the instructions on the packet (usually around 6–8 minutes in boiling water), then drain (don’t refresh), reserving half a cup of the water.

Meanwhile, heat about 600ml vegetable oil to 180°C in a small pan. Carefully add the halloumi all at once and cook it until it becomes golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on absorbent paper.

While the pasta and halloumi are cooking, heat a wide deep frying pan and add the olive or avocado oil, the olives and chilli. Fry over a moderate heat so that the olives and chilli sizzle. Add the artichokes and warm them through.

Add the still-hot drained pasta to the pan together with the reserved cooking water, the halloumi and watercress and half the preserved lemon. Toss together with salt and freshly ground pepper and divide among 4 warmed bowls. Drizzle on some of the artichoke oil and scatter on the remaining preserved lemon. You can serve this with grated Parmesan, but it’s not necessary.