$5 Friday: Tuscan fig pasta

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I am just loving this autumn weather, and the bounty of autumn produce.  I was gifted a whole box of figs recently: tight small green ones that revealed a blushing pink inside.  Such an unexpected delight and a treasure.

There was a time when fig trees were common in Canberra backyards, and indeed in many backyards in Australia.  My old home, before I sold and shifted to an inner city apartment, also had a prolific fig tree. I love the symbolism: my favourite finance book The Richest Man in Babylon talks about the value of purchasing your home and watering your own fig tree. Indeed bought figs are expensive, in part because of the difficulty in transporting the soft fruit to market.

Fresh figs – I like to use figs when they are still green yet slightly soft

I no longer have my own fig tree, nor do I have friends (that I know of) who have a fig tree in their backyard.  But my first AirBnB guest was picking figs at her niece’s place and kindly left me a box.  I, of course, made jam using my Nana’s recipe (blog post to come), and I also made this pasta, which is based on a Tuscan classic.

Ingredients:

400g spaghetti or fettucini
50g pine nuts (you can substitute almonds, or even omit)
2 short bacon rashers
1 onion, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
Figs (mine were small so I used around ten)
Salt and pepper
Parmesan cheese

Method

  1. Cook the pasta in boiling salted water.
  2. In a heavy frypan, roast the pine nuts (or almonds) on high heat until they begin to go golden brown. (They can brown very quickly – I nearly burnt mine).
  3.   Add a little oil to the pan (you won’t’ need much) and then fry the bacon until crisp.  Remove from the frypan.
  4. Using the same frypan (you want to use up all that fried bacon goodness), add a splash of olive oil and then the onions. Fry until clear.
  5. Chop the figs and add to the onions.  Continue to fry for around five minutes or so. I love how the pink juice oozes out of the figs and creates a lovely sweet, syrupy sauce.
  6. Add the cooked pasta, season with salt and pepper, and mix the mixture through.  Serve hot.

Cost:

Spaghetti: 50c
Pinenuts: $2
Bacon $1.50
Onion20c
Olive oil 10c
Figs free
Total:  $4.30

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