Silky sweet red onion, fennel and basil gain a perfect counterpoint in the shape of tangy feta in this delightfully simple linguine. Light yet indulgent (if a little uninspiring aesthetically) no more than 20 minutes are likely to elapse between the first, satisfying chop into your onion and the first, exponentially more satisfying forkful tickling your palate.
To make two generous portions, or three rather more miserly ones, you’ll need:
- 3tbsp olive oil
- black pepper
- 1 medium to large red onion
- 1 fennel bulb
- a good handful of fresh basil
- 100g feta cheese
- 200-225g ribbon pasta, ideally linguine
First, slice the onion and fennel bulb. The idea is for your bowl to play host to a hearty tangle of pasta and vegetables – to which the feta will cling, partially melted – so these can be left as fairly long ribbons.
Whilst you’re performing your knifework, heat a generous couple of glugs of olive oil in a heavy-based pan, preferably one with a lid. Add the chopped onion and fennel to the pan, and start to sweat slowly (though not before seasoning with black pepper and salt. Be a little sparing with the latter because the feta will provide a good deal of salinity too), covering with the lid and stirring occasionally.
At this point, start cooking the pasta according to the instructions on the packet. By the time the pasta is ready, the onion and fennel should be soft, silky and sweet. Add the basil, roughly chopped, and crumble in the feta. Finally, add the pasta and mix until the aforesaid tangle materialises.