orange-scented chorizo pasta with dried figs

I came up with this recipe because I was determined to bring some bright flavor into our winter-weary home.  And it worked!  I’m very proud of this one – my “throw together pasta + some other stuff” attempts number in the hundreds, probably, but this might just be in my top five.  It’s very frugal, too!

Assemble the ingredients.  I’m using Greek kampanoules (little bells) pasta; Barilla sells this as ‘campanelle,’ but you can use any short cut pasta you like.  Penne, rigatoni, or ziti would all work great here.  So would the Greek plexoudes.

If you’re a regular reader, you know that meat is scarce in our house.  Chorizo is one of my greatest frugal discoveries:  I once spent an extended period of time reading the per kilo price labels on every single salami-type meat in the salami aisle and the deli counter, to find the cheapest one, at our local supermarket (Carrefour).  It turns out that Carrefour brand chorizo is actually the cheapest, tied with their storebrand plain salami.  But it has so much more flavor – it’s spicy and very, very pretty, and only 1.72 for 150g, at least until the price goes up.

The figs… these figs are absolutely delicious!  If you can, get partially rehydrated dried figs.  Regular dried figs are hard and rock-like; partially rehydrated ones are soft and mushy and oh so good!  If you live in Greece, I like the Harmony brand.

That mint came out of my freezer.  I bought a bunch of mint last fall (my herb garden stayed on the island when we moved and I still haven’t restarted it… spring, where are you?) and froze most of it.

First, put some water on to boil; then zest the orange.  Then juice it.  Yes, I use a mechanical lemon squeezer to juice everything:  lemons, limes, oranges, grapefruit.  Anyone remember when those were all the rage?  I think Crate & Barrel had them, and there was an orange one for oranges, the yellow one for lemons, and a green one for limes.  Even back then I wasn’t silly enough to fall for that marketing trick!

Cut the figs into slices.  See how gooey they are?  That’s because they’re partially rehydrated – woohoo!

The figs go in the orange juice while everything else is happening.  Isn’t this the most lovely combination of flavors?

Slice the sweet potatoes, chorizo, and mint.  When the water boils, put the pasta in.  A few minutes before the pasta is finished, add the sweet potatoes to the pasta pot.

Heat up a nonstick pan and put the chorizo in; after a minute, add the orange zest.  After another few minutes, add the figs with the orange juice.

Strain the pasta and potatoes.

Add the pasta and potatoes to the pan, with the butter, and stir it all together until the butter is completely melted.

Serve with a few strips of mint on each plate.

Orange-Scented Chorizo Pasta with Dried Figs
Serves 4

250g kampanoules / campanelle pasta
1 small sweetpotato
1 medium orange
30g chorizo in deli thin slices
3 partially rehydrated dried figs
1 tbsp butter
4 leaves mint

1.  Bring salted water to a boil and add pasta.

2.  Zest and juice orange; slice figs; place fig slices in orange juice.

3.  Slice sweetpotato into small sticks.  Slice chorizo into thin strips.  Cut mint into very thin strips.

4.  Three minutes before pasta reaches al dente stage, add sweetpotato to the pasta pot.  When both are ready, strain.

5.  Heat a nonstick skillet and saute chorizo without added fat.  After a minute, add orange zest; stir constantly.  After another minute, add figs with orange juice.  After 2 more minutes, add pasta and sweetpotato; and butter.  Stir all together.

6.  Serve topped with mint strips.

Note:  This is a quick recipe.  If you have time, however, instead of putting the sweetpotato in the pasta pot, roast it in the oven until soft.  The flavor is better, but it takes longer and you have to burn electricity on the oven for one little sweetpotato, so I would only do that if I were already using the oven for something else.

Nutritional Information
per serving, i.e., 1/4 of the total recipe

360 calories
7g fat (3g saturated, 4g unsaturated)
63g carbohydrate
11g protein
4g dietary fiber
14mg cholesterol (5% DV)
136mg sodium (6% DV)
334mg potassium (10% DV)
Contains a significant amount (+10% DV) of the following:
vitamin A, thiamin, niacin, phosphorus, selenium, magnesium, vitamin C, iron, riboflavin, folic acid, manganese, and copper.

You might also like:
Creamy lemon pasta
Classic French baguette

11 thoughts on “orange-scented chorizo pasta with dried figs

    • you can freeze most herbs! Of course fresh is better, but if you, like me, can’t use up a whole bunch of herbs before they go bad, freezing is better than drying at home in my experience. Mint is so easy to grow that I really should have a mint plant… oh well, maybe in another month or two!

  1. Any suggestions on a non-fig fruit? I’m thinking partially rehydrated figs might be harder to find here than I’m willing to search when I don’t LOVE figs.

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