Baked Rigatoni with Brussels Sprouts, Figs, Pears, Apples, Fontina & Gruyère

I  love, love, love cooking for friends and family. It is such a release to me and a great excuse to have a glass of Sauvignon Blanc in hand with the music blasting (and not the TV).

Last night we had some friends over because I planned to cook this week’s Food Matter’s Project dish “Baked Rigatoni with Brussels Sprouts, Figs & Bleu Cheese.”

One thing that is so fun about this project is that every member has different takes on the recipes. Sometimes it is due to out of season ingredients and sometimes due to taste buds and creative juices.

With this week’s recipe I knew I’d have a hard time finding fresh figs since they are not in season here and I am not the “biggest fan” (nor were my guests) of blue cheese. I am however, very passionate about mixing sweet with savory flavor, so the idea of adding even more fruit to this pasta had me at hello.

{If this sounds good to you and you live in Miami you MUST try the Gorgonzola Pear Pasta at Perricone’s! FIOCCHI GORGONZOLA}

My take on this pasta uses chopped apples & pears and opts for a mix of Fontina & Gruyère instead of bleu cheese. The brussels sprouts are perfect in this dish and the recipe calls for topping it with some almonds (I toasted mine) which added a great crunch and flavor. The result is a unique tasting sweet and savory pasta dish that I served alongside a roasted pork loin and my favorite sautéed carrots.  My guests raved about it and came back for thirds even!

::: served with sautéed honey carrots :::

::: toasted almond topping :::

I am a total nerd and can only think of Fig Newton’s from my childhood when I eat these. I can imagine the flavors would be very different with fresh figs!

In retrospect, I am still searching for the right cheese for my tastes in this dish.  {I am kinda weird when it comes to the heavier tasting cheeses} I think this pasta might become more of a staple for me if I even made it without cheese (using olive oil instead) and adding in a few more seasonings.

If you are looking for something a bit different for dinner this week try out this dish! And check out all the amazing renditions by the FMP members here.

Adapted from The Food Matters Cookbook by Mark Bittman

Baked Rigatoni with Brussels Sprouts, Figs, Pears, Apples, Fontina & Gruyère

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Yield: serve 6

Ingredients

  1. 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for greasing the pan
  2. Salt
  3. 8 ounces rigatoni, preferably whole wheat
  4. 1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts, roughly chopped
  5. 4 ounces Gorgonzola or other blue cheese, crumbled (I used a 50/50 mix of Fontina & Gruyere)
  6. 6 to 8 fresh figs, or 1 cup dried, chopped (I used dried)
  7. 1 apple, skinned and chopped
  8. 1 pear, skinned and chopped
  9. Black pepper
  10. 1/4 cup chopped almonds, for garnish (I toasted these first)
  11. Fresh grated parmesan for serving

Instructions

If you don't like blue cheese, try fontina, Gruyère, or anything that melts easily.

I used a 50/50 mix of Fontina and Gruyere and added apples and pears to the original recipe.

1. Heat the oven to 400°F. Grease a 9 × 13-inch baking pan with a little olive oil. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it. Add the pasta and cook it halfway through (start checking after 3 minutes; it should still be quite firm inside). Add the Brussels sprouts to the pot and cook, until the pasta and vegetables are just barely tender, another 3 minutes. Drain, reserving some of the cooking water, and return the pasta and Brussels sprouts to the pot.

2. Stir in the blue cheese (or Fontina Gruyere mix), figs, apples, pears, the 2 tablespoons oil, and a splash of the cooking water. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, toss, and taste and adjust the seasoning. Turn the pasta mixture into the prepared pan. If you want the almonds toasted spread them in a think layer on a baking sheet and pop in the oven for 5 minutes.

3. Bake the pasta dish,checking once or twice and adding a bit more of the cooking water if the pasta looks too dry, until the mixture is bubbling, 15 to 20 minutes. Garnish with the chopped almonds and serve with (optional) shredded parmesan.

http://keelymarie.com/2012/02/27/baked-rigatoni-with-brussels-sprouts-figs-pears-apples-fontina-gruyere/

 

 

::: keelymarie :::

10 Replies to “Baked Rigatoni with Brussels Sprouts, Figs, Pears, Apples, Fontina & Gruyère”

  1. This looks great. I’d love to try it, and I’d probably use dried figs too. Fresh figs are scarce up here at this time of year!

  2. We totally baked our pasta dishes in the same bakeware. I love a good old Pyrex, so affordable but so reliable! Fontina and Gruyere are two of my most favorite cheeses and apples and pears always go great with these cheeses on crackers too, so I’m sure everything was a delightful combo in this one!

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