I not too long ago got here throughout some beautiful early black figs within the grocery retailer and though we’re nonetheless within the warmth of summer time, I used to be immediately transported to fall in Umbria. Fall in Umbria is really a magical time. The frantic summer time season packed stuffed with festivals celebrating meals, artwork, and historical past give manner to what’s actually necessary to the area. Namely, making wonderful wine and olive oil. The area nonetheless holds a handful of great meals festivals every fall devoted to such necessary native treasures as Umbria’s earthy black truffles, chestnuts, black celery, and, in fact, the grape and olive oil harvest, however issues quiet down every fall as of us put together for winter. The arrival of fall can also be mirrored in native outside markets, which are actually overflowing with pears, apples, quince, plums, and my favourite fall fruit, figs.
Although I by no means had the chance to benefit from the style of a ripe, luscious recent fig till I used to be an grownup, figs have turn into a private favourite of mine. Since the recent fig season is so quick, I make the most of them each day once they’re out there by making jams, mixing them with apples or pears in fruit tarts for our farmhouse company, or as an appetizer wrapped in prosciutto and grilled.
One of my favourite fig preparations is that this tasty, distinctive pasta dish. It’s one more straightforward pasta dish that comes collectively in mere minutes, however because you want recent figs and their season is so quick, it has turn into a particular annual deal with for us.
The mixture of the candy figs and salty prosciutto works amazingly properly in lots of recipes. Here, pasta serves as a vessel for chopped figs and prosciutto which have simply barely cooked in a bit of scorching olive oil, flavored with onions and garlic. A pinch of crimson chili pepper and a few cracked black pepper add a bit of warmth, whereas recent parsley and calmly toasted pine nuts add shade, texture, and freshness to the finished dish. I provide grated cheese on the desk, ideally Pecorino Romano, though grated Parmesan can also be acceptable.
You can use any number of figs for this recipe, so long as they’re recent. I’m fortunate sufficient to have a wild inexperienced fig tree rising within the area behind my home in Umbria, so that they’re my go-to, however I additionally like to make use of black figs as proven within the pictures and they’re scrumptious additionally. Pick plump figs that really feel mushy—not mushy—with no bruising, wrinkling, or splits. Ripe figs could also be coated with a whitish bloom, which merely lets you already know they’re at their peak. You can wrap figs individually in wax or parchment paper and retailer them within the fridge for 2 or three days, however they’re finest used at room temperature. When you get them dwelling from the market, gently wipe the skins with a humid fabric and trim off the stem and a skinny slice off the underside earlier than you chop them for this recipe, to make sure you don’t have any disagreeable laborious bits in your accomplished dish.
When I’m in Italy, I take advantage of native prosciutto made in Umbria, referred to as Prosciutto di Norcia, however any good high quality prosciutto will do. Do have it sliced thinly, although, so it doesn’t overpower the delicate sweetness of the figs. I’d additionally discourage you from including any extra salt to this dish other than salt within the pasta water, since prosciutto is kind of salty to start with.
Note: I desire a protracted stranded, dried pasta comparable to spaghetti, stringozzi, or ciriole (conventional Umbrian pasta varieties) for this dish. You can even use a brief pasta comparable to fusilli or penne in the event you desire.
To toast the pine nuts, you’ll be able to both use the oven or skillet technique. For the oven, unfold the nuts on a baking sheet and bake at 350°F, stirring often, till golden-brown, 5 to 10 minutes. For the skillet, prepare dinner the nuts in a dry skillet over medium-low warmth, stirring always, till calmly golden brown, about Three minutes.
Since there isn’t any liquid aside from olive oil on this pasta dish, it’s useful to order a small cup of the pasta water earlier than you drain the pasta. When you combine the elements collectively you need to use the pasta water to loosen the “sauce” and guarantee it’s not dry and as an alternative calmly coats the pasta.
Deborah Mele 2018
Pasta With Figs, Prosciutto & Pine Nuts
- 8 Thin Slices of Prosciutto, About 6 Ounces, Divided
- 4 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- half of Cup Finely Chopped Onion (About half of Medium Onion)
- 2 Garlic Cloves, Minced (About 2 Teaspoons)
- 1 Tablespoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- half of to 1 !easpoon Red Chili Flakes
- Eight to 10 Medium Fresh, Ripe Figs, About 2 half of Cups Chopped
- 1 Pound Pasta of Choice (See Note Above)
- 1/3 Cup Chopped Fresh Parsley Leaves
- 1/3 Cup Lightly Toasted Pine Nuts (See Note Above)
- Grated Pecorino Romano Cheese
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Place two slices of prosciutto on a baking sheet.
- Bake the prosciutto till crispy, about 7 minutes then cool to room temperature.
- Once cool, crumble the prosciutto into items and put aside to garnish the finished pasta dish.
- Roll the opposite 6 slices of prosciutto up lengthwise, after which thinly slice into strips and put aside till wanted for the sauce.
- Place a big pot of calmly salted water on to boil.
- While the pasta water is coming to a boil, warmth the oil in a small pot over medium warmth till calmly smoking, then prepare dinner the onion, stirring, till it’s mushy and translucent, about 5 minutes.
- Add the garlic, sliced prosciutto, pepper, and chili flakes and prepare dinner, stirring typically for about Four minutes.
- Add the figs, stir gently to combine and decrease the warmth to medium-low, then proceed to prepare dinner till the figs start to interrupt down, about Four minutes.
- Keep heat.
- Cook the pasta till it’s “al dente” following the package deal directions, then drain, reserving a small cup of the pasta water.
- Return the pasta to the pot and empty the fig and prosciutto combination on prime.
- Place the pot over medium excessive warmth, and stirring always, add as a lot pasta water as is required to calmly coat the pasta strands, often about 1/Four to 1/Three of a cup.
- Once the pasta is piping scorching and properly blended, add the parsley and toss.
- Serve the pasta in particular person bowls, topped with a sprinkling of the toasted pine nuts, and crispy prosciutto crumbles.
- Pass grated cheese on the desk.