Joe Trivelli’s Rigatoni with Figs Al Fichi
This sounds like an unusual pairing but actually the faintly spicy figs with the rich cured meat is a delicious combination. Put a large pan of salted water on to heat. You can start cooking the pasta as soon as it boils as the sauce is that quick to make.
Fry the guanciale or pancetta in a large pan with a tablespoon of olive oil. When it is nice and crispy, and most of the fat has melted, add the thyme and figs and toss quickly.
Drain the pasta, reserving a cup of the cooking liquid. Add the pasta to the other pan and toss everything together, adding the cheese and using the cooking water to emulsify the sauce as necessary. Add a good grind of pepper and salt to taste. Serve with more cheese for grating at the table. From Joe Trivelli’s The Modern Italian Cook published by Seven Dials ■