Nothing ushers in the feeling of autumnal vibes like a fresh juicy fig. This deliciously sweet, late summer fruit is a firm Partisan favourite and the perfect accompaniment to the salty coppa in this recipe.
October has arrived and we find ourselves fishing out warm, woolly jumpers and reaching for the thermostat but the vibrant summer flavours of sharp sheep’s milk cheese and lemon can’t fail to warm your soul. Evocative of a Mediterranean summer holiday, let’s cling to the sunshine for just a little longer.
We are a cheesemonger after all, so let’s talk about the cheese in this dish. We have used a trio of ewes milk cheeses for a delicious combination of salty, sharp and creamy. Let’s take a look at them in more detail.
Sussex Slipcote is a fresh soft cheese made with organic sheep milk. It has a light, creamy, fluffy texture and a slightly sharp refreshing flavour. It comes in four delicious flavours, Original, Dill, Peppercorn and Garlic & Herb. I have tried this recipe with the Original and the Dill, and both are delicious – I am sure it would taste equally as great with the other two flavours too.
Another from our local sheep’s milk cheese experts, High Weald. Typically known as ‘Feta’, this cheese has its origins in the Mediterranean and they make the cheese in the traditional way with 100% organic sheep milk and then mature it in brine for over five months.
It is a semi soft crumbly cheese with a distinct, sharp, fresh, salty flavour. I find it softer textured and less dense than the super market “feta” style cheeses and always have a block in my fridge to liven up a salad or sandwich.
I just can’t resist the salty tang of a good Roquefort – it is the original blue cheese after all. It is creamy and aromatic, complex and intense, with sharp and tangy, pleasing notes.
The story goes that a young French shepherd left his lunch of bread and cheese in a cave when he scarpered off to woo a local milk maid. Upon his return the cheese had become mouldy, we now know due to the prevalence of the bacteria roqueforti penicillium in the cave, and the delicious fromage we know and love was born.
A Balancing Act
The saltiness of these ewes milk cheeses and the Coppa ham balances perfectly with the sweetness of the figs and the sourness of the lemons, but if your palette does not love a salty meal you could try substituting the Roquefort for a less salty blue, we recommend a delicious french goat milk blue, Bleu De Bocage. If you don’t love blue cheese you could try grated Berkswell too.
This recipe is so simple, most of the ingredients get roasted in a large pan so other than the pan to boil the bucatini in, there is very little washing up. It is also very flexible, if you want less or no Coppa then leave it out and up the cheese quantities a little. The recipe serves 4.
Prep time 10 minutes
Cooking time 20 minutes
- 1 lemon (zest and juice)
- 500g PastaOut fresh bucatini
- 75g Tempus coppa ham
- 2 large onions
- 4 figs
- 2 tblsp of olive oil
- Salt for the pasta water (optional)
- 100g Sussex Slipcote cheese
- 100g Medita
- 100g Roquefort
- Preheat the oven to 190° fan (gas mark 5)
- Peel and quarter the onions and break them apart into large petals, spread out over the baking tray.
- Cut the figs into eighths and add to the onions.
- Drizzle with olive oil and grate the zest of 1 lemon over it all. Give it a good stir and roast for 10 minutes. You want the onions to soften and everything to start to caramelise a little.
- One the tray is in the over place a large pan of water on the boil, this should take about the same time as the onions and figs.
- While the water is coming to the boil prepare the other ingredients. Slice or tear the Coppa into fourths or fifths, cut the Medita into small squares (0.5cm) and crumble up the Roquefort.
- Once the first 10 mins roasting is completed remove the tray from the oven and mix in the Coppa, Medita and Roquefort. Return to the oven for another 10 minutes.
- Your pasta water should now be boiling, add the salt if you are using it and cook your pasta according to the instructions. If you are using fresh bucatini from PastaOut this will take 4 minutes
- Drain the pasta and retain a little of the pasta water. Return to the saucepan and squeeze in the juice of one lemon and crumble in the Sussex Slipcote.
- Stir the bucatini until the Slipcote has melted and formed a sauce with the lemon juice. If you need to loosen it a little then add some pasta water.
- When the fig mixture has completed its second 10 minutes in the oven remove the tray from the oven and tip the contents into the pan with the pasta.
- Stir to combine and serve on warm pasta dishes.
The classic pairing for a salty cheese such as Roquefort would be a sweet white such as Sauternes, but the sweetness in this dish from the onions and figs mean it is complimented by a slightly dryer wine.
We adore a crisp cold glass of Greyfriars Pinot Gris while enjoying this dish or even a glass of Binary Botanicals table beer. The citrus notes of both make for an intense, summery combination.
We’d love to know what you think of this recipe and let us know if you try it for yourself. You can tag us on Instagram or Facebook using the handle @partisandeli
You can buy all the cheese and Coppa using the links below.