cooking in the caboose – balsamic fig and prosciutto pasta

Have I mentioned how much we are really loving our kitchen? Oh, probably just a few times. It may be small, but it’s got some serious equipment and the galley-style layout is easy to work in. Our Fisher-Paykel range is not the AGA Companion that I longed for, but we aren’t rolling in piles of money (yet), so it was the next best option, and is also pretty sweet.

Today I wanted to share one of our favourite pasta recipes, inspired about four years ago by a big, juicy bag of figs I acquired when I was a landscaper. The property owner had these figs coming out of her ears via her large fig tree, so I happily took a few off her hands. They were so ripe, they weren’t actually all that edible on their own, and were more of a sauce. The light went off in my little head and I tried to figure out what would be an interesting way to use these saucy little girls. The result: a fig-balsamic sauce on pasta, with broiled prosciutto.

Paired with a French off-dry rose. Unfortunately I’ve recycled the bottle and can’t remember what it was.

Scott and I tend to morph recipes each time we make them, so if you want to try this I encourage you to try your own variation. Also, my measurements are approximate so don’t worry about being too close to the mark. Serves 2 hungry adults, or 4 dieting.

INGREDIENTS
250 g pasta of your choice (we used 6 bundles of Tagliatelle this time)
6 ripe figs, cut into quarters
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
3 Tbsp water
3 Tbsp brown sugar
pinch sea salt

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 shallot, thinly sliced
small green pepper, sliced
handful of pitted black olives
1 Tbsp capers
75 g italian prosciutto, thinly sliced
3 Tbsp asiago or parmesan cheese, coarsely grated
1 Tbsp fresh basil, coarsely chopped
fresh ground black pepper to taste

METHOD

1. Put water on to boil for pasta. Chop up/ prepare your ingredients.

2. In a small sauce pan, combine figs, balsamic vinegar, brown sugar and sea salt. Heat on med-low temperature until figs start to break down and sauce starts to thicken. I smush the figs a bit with my spoon as I’m stirring. Stir often. About 10 minutes later you should have a softly bubbling sauce. If it seems to thick, just add a bit more balsamic and/or water and heath through. Cover and turn off the burner.


3. Lay prosciutto slices on a broiling pan and turn on your oven’s broiler.

4. When your pasta water comes to a boil, add salt and pasta.

5. In medium frying pan or sauce pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add shallots and garlic and fry for a minute or two until they soften and are fragrant.

6. Put your prosciutto in the broiler and keep an eye on it as it only takes a couple of minutes to get crispy!

7. Back to your shallots and garlic – add the green pepper, olives and capers. Sauté for another 2 minutes, and then add your fig sauce. Turn down the heat to low and stir until everything is combined and heated through.

8.Your prosciutto should be ready by now as well. Take it out, let it cool off for a minute, then transfer to your cutting board and chop it up coarsely.

9. Your pasta is probably done now too – drain it, divide onto plates, then pour on your sauce/veggies, top with prosciutto, cheese, basil and pepper. Enjoy!

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