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November 6, 2014

Fettuccine with Figs, Bacon, and Walnut-Sage Cream Sauce

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I am one who likes to have pumpkin with my pumpkin while having a side of pumpkin. After all, it is the fall, which means it’s pumpkin season. But, I need to give myself a break from the little orange squash time to time, so that I don’t pumpkin myself out before Thanksgiving. Now, that would be close to devastating.  (As I have another sip of my pumpkin spiced coffee.)

In-season, local produce seems to just taste better, doesn’t it? Well, that’s for a reason: because it is harvested at peak ripeness, and it doesn’t have to journey far to get to your dinner table, so it never loses flavor. When produce is picked at its peak, it is also more nutrient dense. ShopRite has been teaming up with local farmers to ensure that you are getting the freshest produce. Eating locally and seasonally is not only better for you, but also great for your local economy. Win!

Eating seasonally in the fall is incredible and unrivaled (think Thanksgiving. Amazing.). Pumpkin, squash, sage, shallots, apples, the list goes on. One autumnal food I love that doesn’t get much play is the trusty little fig. It has a short season, beginning at the end of summer, continuing through the fall. Figs are delicious, sweet, and such a wonderful addition to any dish- sweet or savory.

And- best yet!- you can find them at your local ShopRite this time of year!

Typically when one thinks of figs, he thinks of the Mediterranean; especially when they are paired with something like fettuccine. And what a lovely thought that is. It was my goal to bring this exotic dish back across the Atlantic and give it a bit of an autumnal, American flare. With nothing other than: bacon. Nom.

Then you can enjoy a little (or a lottle) pumpkin pie for dessert!

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FETTUCCINE WITH FIGS, BACON AND SAGE CREAM SAUCE
Yields: 4 healthy-sized servings

Ingredients:

1 lb fettuccine
6 slices smoked bacon
1 cup black mission figs, stems removed, chopped
2 TBS butter, unsalted
1 cup + 1/4 cup gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1 shallot, chopped
2 TBS fresh sage leaves, chopped
1 cup white wine
1/2 cup half & half
1 TBS kosher salt
1 tsp fresh ground pepper

Directions:

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Run cold water over your bacon slices (trust me on this!), so that they don’t shrink too much while they cook. Line your bacon onto a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes. Remove and drain on paper towels. And chop it up!

2. Cook the fettuccine according to the package’s instructions. Drain and set aside.

3. In a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter.  Add the chopped shallot and cook for about 1 minute. Add the sage, cooking for an additional minute, stirring frequently. Add most of the figs (save some for a garnish, if you’d like!), wine, 1 cup of gorgonzola, and half & half. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook until sauce has thickened, which should be approximately 3 to 5 minutes.

4. In an ungreased cast iron skillet, toast the walnuts, stirring frequently, until they produce a perfectly wonderful, nutty scent- about 2 to 3 minutes. Add to the sauce.

5. Add salt and pepper (taste for your preference, if you’d like a little more salt or pepper!). Stir in the drained, chopped bacon. Pour the sauce over the fettucine. Garnish with remaining figs and gorgonzola, and eat up!

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