Lala, my husband’s youngest sister, helped to maintain our vegetable and fruit garden all summer. She definitely has a green thumb and has been so good watering our tomato plants and keeping them alive (even when I was out of town for the Banh Mi book promotion in Houston last week). Lala has just started 4th grade this month. She’s a very witty girl, full of energy and such a foodie. She told me she didn’t want to have to eat the school lunches this year and would prefer eating homemade food for her back-to-school lunch.
I told her it would be possible only if she helps me in the kitchen once she’s done with her homework. She started a chart with the menu of the week and she seemed so thrilled! I couldn’t be more excited because these are more precious moments I get to share with my munchkin, plus it’s about sharing my passion for cooking.
So this evening, we gathered a few San Marzano tomatoes, basil flowers and Brown Turkey figs. You’re probably wondering what we made with all these fantastic ingredients? Pasta sauce! I sweetened the tomato sauce with a hint of maple syrup and tossed medium shell pasta into the delectable sauce. It’s sweet without being overpowering, and the figs give it a wonderful new dimension.
1. Info for Fig Marinara Pasta Recipe
- Cook Time: 30 min
- Total Time: 50 min
- Servings: 4
- Calories: 333 kcal
2. Ingredients for Fig Marinara Pasta Recipe
- 1 pound medium shell pasta, cooked
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 (8-inch) stalk leek (white and green parts), chopped
- 1½ pounds San Marzano tomatoes, halved
- ½ pound Brown Turkey figs, eah cut into 8 pieces
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 stalk celery, peeled and chopped
- 1 clove garlic, finely minced
- 8 basil flower buds
- 1 bay leaf, torn in half
- 2 teaspoons salt
- ½ teaspoon red chili flakes
- 1 tablespoon salted butter
- 3 tablespoons Romano cheese, freshly grated
- 2 tablespoons curly parsley, chopped
- For the figs: In a pot, heat 3 tablespoons oil. Add the leeks. Cook for 8 minutes until the leeks are shiny and translucent. Add the celery and continue cooking for 8 more minutes. Transfer to a plate. Combine ¼ cup cold water and maple syrup. Bring to a boil, add the figs and basil flowers.Let simmer for 12 minutes.
- For the marina sauce: To the same pot, add the bay leaf, tomatoes, red chili flakes and return the reserved leeks, garlic and celery. Cook over high heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Reserve a few figs from the sauce so they’re still visible in the end product. Transfer the rest to a food mill. If you don’t have a food mill, you can use a food processor, then pass the sauce through a coarse-mesh sieve and discard the tomato skin and basil flower buds if you like. Return the tomato sauce to the pot. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, return the reserved figs, then immediately lower the heat and simmer for 8-10 minutes until the sauce thickens. Cover and let it sit until ready to assemble.
- Heat the rest of the oil in a large non-stick pan. Add the garlic and cook over medium heat until fragrant. Add the pasta shells and sauté them in a bit of butter. Season with salt and pepper. Cover with the fig marinara sauce. Turn off the heat, cover and let sit for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with Romano cheese and parsley.
- Bon appétit!