Fresh Fig Pasta, a quick meal that bends your mind
As I mentioned, the figs are ripe and marching into the kitchen. Living off the land, which is an aspiration to most flat- and inner-city dwellers, is possible for us plot people. (Maplotters, some would say. But not to my face. I am six foot four). Now we need to do something with all of these figs. They do not conveniently come in wrapped packets of six per week. They all arrive in a taxibus. So why not fresh fig pasta? Figs are good, pasta is good, the combination should be at least 2good, if my mathematics are correct.
This recipe is an adaptation of a Martha Chartreuse recipe, on her Portland Life + Style blog. You can read her article here. What I liked about it is the fact that it’s a real 15-20 minute meal. And when the sun is out and it’s Saturday afternoon and the children whine for lunch and the white wine bottle is sweating rivulets off its side, a speedy fresh fig pasta is just what you need. Other than a glass of the crisp white, that is. There is truly something decadent about figs. It brings to mind images of Romans on couches stuffing their pudgy faces whilst the barbarians are gathering on the hill. Or Greek philosophers in white togas with fig juice dripping down their chins. And in a pasta it seems to fit in. Strangely enough.
Also, the dish is a visual treat. The red exposed flesh, opened like lips before a sensual kiss. The green of the fragrant basil, tickling your nostrils as well as your eyes. Yes, it’s good. What Martha suggests is to brown the butter. This, with the toasted almonds, gives a nuttiness to the dish that compliments the fruitiness of the figs. Pure brilliance. I found this dish light and fruity but not cloyingly so. The fresh basil cuts through the density somehow. And gives me another weapon to cut through the invasion of figs.
- 1 packet of Fettuccine. Penne also works well.
- 1/3 cup of sliced almonds
- 3 Tablespoons butter (unsalted if you can)
- 8 figs
- 100g fresh good quality Mozzarella
- 1/4 cup Mascarpone cheese (optional)
- A bunch of freshly picked Basil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Put the pasta to the boil in a large pot. It should take no more than 8 minutes.
- Wash and slice the figs
- Grate or slice or cube the Mozzarella, according to the texture you prefer. Slices works the best for me.
- Using a heavy-bottomed pan, dry-roast the almonds until golden. Keep the pan moving to do this well.
- Add the butter. Let the butter brown.
- Add the figs and keep the pan moving.
- Drain the pasta and add it to the pan. Mix it in with tongs. Let the pasta be coated with the browned butter.
- Add the Mozzarella and let it rest for a minute. Scoop the Mascarpone in if you choose.
- Add the fresh Basil and mix in with the tongs.
- Season to taste and serve.