Last night’s dinner was fettuccine with figs and prosciutto and it was divine. I first discovered the awesomeness of figs a few years ago when I tried fig and prosciutto pizza at Rustico. Dave and I went out for a nice lunch after running the Army 10 Miler. I know what you are thinking, I would have given props to a cardboard box covered in peanut butter because I was starving. Simply not true, the pizza was superb.
Figs are the fruit of the ficus tree. They have been cultivated in the Middle East and Western Asia since biblical times. While there are many different varieties of fig, all figs are known for their sweet taste and complex texture. They have smooth skin, chewy flesh, and crunchy seeds. Figs are very delicate and perishable, so finding fresh figs is quite difficult. I saw fresh figs at the Alexandria Farmer’s Market a few weekends ago but could not find any at Whole Foods yesterday. One of the clerks informed me that they rarely have fresh figs in stock.
Fettuccine with Figs, Prosciutto, and Goat Cheese
Serves 4 to 6
Adapted from Giada De Laurentis
1 lb fettuccine
4 strips of prosciutto, 1/4 inch thick
1 1/2 cups dried figs
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
4 oz goat cheese, room temperature
4 oz mascarpone cheese, room temperature
Zest of 1 large lemon
Begin by pre-heating the oven to 400 degrees and placing the prosciutto on a rimmed baking sheet. While waiting for the oven to heat, quarter the figs and pick the thyme leaves off the stems.
Once the oven has come to temp, bake the prosciutto for 10 minutes. While the prosciutto is baking, heat a large pot of water and cook pasta per the package’s instructions.
While the pasta water is coming to a boil, place the figs, thyme, chicken broth, and orange juice in a saucepan and heat to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer and season with salt and pepper. The prosciutto is plenty salty so go easy on the salt. Simmer the mixture for 5 minutes before removing the pan from heat and stirring in the goat cheese and mascarpone. Zest the lemon straight into the sauce.
When the pasta and sauce are both ready, toss the cooked fettuccine with the fig sauce in a large serving bowl.
After removing the prosciutto from the oven, allow it to cool for at 5 to 10 minutes before breaking or chopping it into 1/2 inch pieces. Toss the pieces into serving bowl with the pasta and sauce.
This meal came together pretty quickly, however, I opted not to make my own pasta. I am sure fresh made pasta would add some time but take this dish up a few notches, to mind numbingly good.
The sweetness of the figs and richness of the cheese were nicely balanced by the saltiness of the prosciutto and the freshness of the lemon zest. I paired my pasta with an arugula salad and a glass of white wine.
The dynamic flavors and ease of preparation make this a perfect dish for company or a home date night.