Figgy and Piggy

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Our back yard fig tree has been hanging around for a while spitting out a fig or two a year. I don’t know what suddenly inspired it, but this year we have figs! By that I mean that several times I’ve been able to pick at least a dozen. That has been the inspiration for fig jam, (well one jar – but that’s a start) port poached figs on ice cream, and fig pizza and that about wrapped it up until I decided to try figs in pasta. I know that sounds sort of weird, but I like weird pasta. Beets with rosemary and garlic is a favorite, eggplant, tomatoes, and feta cheese is yummy, why not figs? The idea was to create creamy pasta with fresh figs and some salty element. The salty part was a no brainer – my husband’s favorite thing in the world – country ham. The first time we had this pasta for dinner – I knew we were on to something. I made the pasta- fettuccini is a favorite - sliced the figs, sautéed thin slices of country ham and topped it all with fresh basil. It was amazing, but the basil wasn’t exactly right and the creamy part needed to be creamier. So for the sake of blogging I had to make this until it was perfect, such a sacrifice to have to eat pasta over and over again. 

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But (darn it) I think this is finally just right. Now here is the funny part, right now we are between fig harvests, there are babies figs but nothing to pick so the grocery store had to be the backup. Fortunately fresh figs are available now, but this winter I’ll be making this same recipe with dried figs plumped up in something delicious like wine or fruit juice to add flavor. The herb part needed to be a little more earthy, and fresh sage is the hands down winner. Rosemary was a second choice but the sage is just perfect. The creamy cheese part is a dollop of mascarpone, but cream cheese would do the trick. The whole dish can be made in one pot and the best part is that 30 minutes, including cooking the pasta, is all the time this yummy dinner requires.

Mothers everywhere will all agree that it is “a pretty dish”. My guys do not understand this concept but I totally get it. You’ll want to make this recipe now while fresh figs are available, but I have a feeling this will be a year-round dish in our house. Give different and delicious Fresh Figs and Country Ham Pasta a try and enjoy the compliments!

Fresh Fig and Country Ham Pasta

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Ingredients

12 oz fettuccini or pasta of choice

6 oz thin sliced country ham

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 Tbsp butter

¾ cups white wine

Zest of one lemon (or a small squirt of lemon juice)

2 oz mascarpone cheese (or cream cheese)

2 - 3 Tbsp cream

12 figs, quartered

1 Tbsp fresh sage, thinly sliced

Pepper

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Directions

In a large pot or Dutch oven, sauté country ham until just crisp.

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Remove ham and carefully wipe any grease from the pot.

Cut ham into small bite size pieces.

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In same pot, cook pasta according to package directions.

Drain in a colander, reserving ½ cup of pasta water.

Return the pot to the heat; melt butter and sauté the garlic until just softened.

Add the wine to the pot to briefly reduce, about 2 minutes.

Return pasta to the pot.

Stir in lemon zest, mascarpone cheese, cream, and pasta water as needed to thin sauce.

Mix in ham and figs.

Top with sage and fresh grated pepper.

Enjoy! 

© Deer One Publishing 2017