Creamy Fig & Bacon Pasta

Figs!!!! They’re fresh and reasonably priced right now and I can’t get enough. I had never tried a fresh fig until about two years ago when I was working as a salad dressing demo specialist at Whole Foods. Yes, I was that person at the grocery store trying to entice you to try my samples so that you would buy the product I was trying to sell. Anyone who has ever been to Costco knows this works pretty well sometimes. Anyway, the best part of being stationed in Whole Food’s produce department every weekend was the opportunity to interact with the wonderful staff who would teach me about the different fruits and vegetables and even throw a sample my way every so often! This was how I finally tried fresh figs and I have been forever changed. I love figs on their own, or with a little Greek yogurt and a drizzle of honey.

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Not surprisingly, my early life experiences were figs were in the form of Fig Newtons. Fig Newtons do not equal figs! If you find Fig Newtons disgusting (I imagine that most people do) don’t you worry, fresh figs might surprise you.

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This is a fun and decadent use of fresh figs which are an amazing complement for bacon, creamy pasta, peppery arugula, and a hint of lemon. This recipe is great because it’s flavors are rich and complex but it takes less than 30 minutes to prepare. Dinner guests would be impressed by this surprisingly easy dish than seems like it took all day.

The 1/4 cup of wine required to make this is an excellent excuse to indulge in a delicious dinner and a bottle of wine!

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Serves 2-3

Ingredients

  • 4 slices thick-cut bacon (approx. 6 oz), diced
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 large figs, quartered (approx. 1/2 lb)
  • 2 cups fresh arugula
  • zest and juice of 1 small/medium lemon
  • 4 oz mascarpone cheese (about half of one container)
  • 1/4 cup white wine (a wine you would drink!)
  • 1/2 lb fettuccine (I used whole wheat)
  • 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper
  • Fresh basil for garnish

Directions

1. Put water on to boil for the pasta. While water is boiling cook bacon until crispy in a large saute pan. Remove bacon and set aside. Drain most of the bacon grease, leaving a thin layer in the pan. Turn heat to medium

2. Add onion to the bacon grease and cook until soft and translucent, about 4 to 5 minutes. While the onion is cooking the water should be boiling, add pasta and cook according to package directions.

3. Add garlic to the onions and cook until fragrant, about one minute. With heat on medium-high add the white wine and cook until reduced by half. Once reduce turn heat to low and add lemon juice.

4. With the heat still on how add mascarpone and stir until melted. Stir in lemon zest, salt and pepper. Add the cooked pasta and toss until the sauce adheres to the noodles, about 3 minutes.

5. Remove pan from heat and stir in arugula and bacon, then the quartered figs.

6. Garnish with chopped, fresh basil and serve immediately. Preferably with a nice glass of white wine!

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