Tuesday, September 11, 2012


I have started writing this post about three times, and every time, I end up creating a new Word document and starting all over again.

I don't like the things I'm writing, my stories seem boring and I can't shake the feeling of tiredness when it comes to formulating a thought and writing it down.

I have been cooking a lot, well, I always cook a lot no matter what. It's what keeps me sane sometimes.

The other day, I was feeling very low. I guess it's the September blues, the days are getting shorter, it's a little chilly now in the evenings and early mornings, and in everyone's mind there's that sense of renewal, the season for starting new things blah blah blah. I'm not in that kind of mood.

I have a lot of things happening myself that need my undivided attention but I'm kind of, I don't know, down. When I woke up on Sunday, I had an overwhelming desire to do nothing, to wallow in my thoughts and feelings, but they were driving me crazy. S was studying, he has an exam coming up, he's renewing certifications, IT-network stuff, don't ask me about it, and I didn't know what to do. Not until I got up and went into the kitchen.

I was cooking and photographing, for what it seemed like hours. I was in the zone, I wasn't thinking about anything other than cooking the tagliatelle to perfection, al dente of course, being reminded of my brother who likes them almost raw, slicing the figs just so, not crushing their skin, trying to keep their shape, realizing that my knife needed sharpening, crumbling the goat's cheese in beautiful little pieces, tearing up the prosciutto, chopping the rosemary, thinking about what I heard a chef say once, that when you chop herbs, your board shouldn't end up green, you need those herb oils in your food not on your chopping board, finding the right plates, or perhaps we should eat the pasta straight from the pan, wondering why I don't use this copper pan more often, picking it up by its hot handle and burning my hand, realizing that's the reason.

And then I called S to come. Time to eat. He was in the kitchen in a flash and when he spoke, I was startled, I was brought back. The ritual of preparing food has ended and now I couldn't wait to taste. It needed salt, one-two-three grinds of the pepper mill, oh, should we try some parmesan on top, nah. We dug in. We ate greedily, and it was magnificent.

Perfect balance of flavors. Sweet figs, with their seeds escaping from the fruit, adorning the glistening from the olive oil tagliatelle, salty prosciutto with the fat livening up the taste buds, fresh, aromatic rosemary, creamy, tangy goat's cheese melting from the heat of the pasta creating a light sauce. Sunday was a bright day, after all.

Tagliatelle with Fresh Figs, Goat's Cheese and Prosciutto

Use whichever goat's cheese you prefer, as long as it has a slightly sharp flavor rather than sweet, to counterbalance the sweetness of the figs. I may have opted not to grate parmesan on top of my pasta but S eventually couldn't control himself, he's a parmesan junkie, and I have to say, it works perfectly. If the dish is a little too sweet for your liking, don't hesitate to add the parmesan.

As far as the figs are concerned, I could only find the purple variety but you can use the green ones as well. They need to be sweet, not too sweet, we're not making a dessert, and not bruised too much because you'll use them whole.

Yield: 2 main-course servings

200-250 g dried tagliatelle all'uovo (made with eggs)
4 Tbsp plus 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
4 large, fresh figs, cut into 8 wedges
100 g goat's cheese, crumbled
4-6 slices prosciutto, roughly teared up
The leaves from 1 fresh rosemary sprig, roughly chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
Parmesan, grated (optional)

Special equipment: colander, grater (optional)

Bring a large pot of water to the boil over high heat and add the salt, followed by the tagliatelle. Cook until al dente (firm but not very hard), or cook to your liking, stirring every so often so the strands of pasta don't stick together.

Meanwhile, add 4 Tbsp of olive oil to a large and preferably deep skillet or frying pan, and warm over medium heat. Add the fig wedges to the pan and heat them through, turning them gently around the oil, for a couple of minutes. Turn heat off.

When the tagliatelle are ready, reserve 2-3 Tbsp of the pasta water and drain them in a colander, discarding the rest of the water. Add the cooked tagliatelle to the skillet with the figs and toss well to coat the pasta with the olive oil. I use tongs to do that, it's easier than using a pasta fork and you avoid squishing the figs too. If you find the pasta to be too dry for your liking, add some, or all, of the pasta water you reserved earlier. Add the crumbled goat's cheese and the teared up prosciutto slices to the skillet along with the chopped rosemary and one extra Tbsp of olive oil. Add some freshly ground black pepper and salt, if you think it's necessary, and toss gently. Serve immediately.
You can add a grating of parmesan on top if you want.

A rocket salad dressed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar is a perfect accompaniment to this dish.


  1. I love tagliatelle and made from egg is even better. Yum. Plus figs, goat cheese and prosciutto? Sign me up.

    Erin - ekcantcook.blogspot.com

  2. Isn't the zone a wonderful place? I know exactly where you were... This is such a great combination of ingredients - I must try it, especially as I have been on a homemade tagliatelle jag as of late!

  3. I know the feeling ... my kitchen is my meditation room. I forget all worries as soon as I start chopping, slicing, and mixing. Your tagliatelle sounds really delicious. Looking forward to more delicious Greek recipes ....

  4. Those figs look heavenly! We're in the opposite season so I'm glad for the newly warm weather but sad that we won't have figs for a few months!

  5. What a marvelous combination to eat with pasta! These late Summer/Early Autumn figs are amazing and should be eaten for dinner, dessert and everything in between.

  6. Your honest writing brings a smile to my face--there are plenty of times that I look at what I've just written and think "Ugh. Boring." I must say that I would be cheered up if I had such a stunning of bowl of pasta with figs. You've got all the right elements: sweet-salty-savory-pungent for a truly satisfying dish.

  7. Beautiful photographs and a delicious recipe Magda. Those figs look just divine, you can't help but smile looking at them!

  8. What an interesting combo! I would have never thought of that!