Are we still embracing the colorful fall season or are we already hunkering down for winter? This pasta is a little late seeing that the fig harvest should be almost over by now, but I was lucky enough to score a half dozen earlier this month and this is my favorite way to use them in a beautiful autumn meal. The inspiration comes from a very, very old issue of either Bon Appetit or Food & Wine, but since the original recipe called for fresh truffles (which even for myself is not always possible to acquire), I adapted it so that most cooks can try this at home.
For 2 servings you will need:
6 large sweet figs
1 Tbsp. butter
1/3 cup diced pancetta (or thick-cut bacon)
1 cup of 1/2-inch diced kabocha pumpkin
4-6 sage leaves, depending how large they are
1/4 cup white wine
1 Tbsp. porcini powder (make your own by processing dried porcini in a spice blender)
salt and pepper to taste
6 ounces pappardelle, dried (or 1/2 pound fresh)
For the sauce:
Quarter 4 of the figs and chop the remaining 2. Place the latter in a large skillet along with the butter and pancetta; cook until the pancetta releases its fat. Add the pumpkin and sage, and continue cooking until the sage begins to turn a little golden around the edges. Pour in the wine and add the porcini powder; reduce until sauce is slightly thickened. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
In the meantime, cook the pasta. When it’s almost ready, reheat the fig/pumpkin sauce and stir in the quartered figs – you just want to warm them through. Add the drained pasta and divide between 2 plates.