Fresh fig season is over so quickly that if you don’t search them out you might just miss it, and what a shame that would be. Although I enjoy figs raw, I prefer their flavour when it is concentrated by grilling or roasting. Roasted figs are simple enough to have over ice cream, but truly special when paired with cheese in savoury dishes.
In this pasta recipe the roasted figs are tossed with a tangy cheese sauce made from white wine and chevre as well as some chicken breast. If you are anything like me, you should know that the not to miss wine pairing is a crisp glass of rosé.
Creamy Chèvre Penne with Chicken and Figs(serves 4-6)
To roast your figs, first trim the stems off the figs, then cut them into eighths and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and bake for 15 minutes.
Place a large pot of water on to boil and turn your oven on to 400F. Heat a large skillet to medium heat. Cut your chicken breasts into bite sized pieces, sprinkle with salt and freshly ground pepper. Once the frying pan is hot add the butter and olive oil. Once the butter has stopped foaming add the chicken to the pan. Spread it out evenly and let it cook until it is brown on one side, about 4 minutes. Flip and continue cooking until browned all over and just cooked through. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
Add in the diced onion and saute for 2 minutes or until it has started to soften. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Sprinkle on the flour, and use a whisk to incorporate into the onions and garlic. Stir in the wine and whisk regularly to cook some of the floury flavour out and evaporate some wine. Continue for about 2 minutes. Whisk in the milk a 1/2 cup at a time, waiting until the mixture is bubbling again before continuing. Reduce heat to medium low and allow to simmer, whisking occasionally for another 10 minutes.
When the water for your pasta boils add salt and cook the pasta according to package directions, drain.
Once the sauce has simmered gently for 10 minutes, slowly break the goat cheese into the sauce, you can leave some of it for garnish if you like. Allow it to melt for a minute then whisk until it is completely emulsified in. Taste and add salt and pepper to the sauce, you will likely want at least a 1/2 teaspoon of salt plus lots of freshly ground pepper, but do it to your own taste. Stir in the chicken, the pasta and then gently the roasted figs. Pour into a baking dish (or choose an oven proof baking dish from the start), garnish with extra chevre if desired and transfer to the oven for 10 minutes. Serve hot.