I’m always curious about using fruits in savory applications. I associate fruits with desserts–pies, tarts, quick breads and puddings. My experience with persimmon is all sweet– persimmon bread, persimmon cookies, persimmon gelato.
And then I thought, hey, why not cook it into a pasta dish?!
Persimmons are my fruit of the moment. Every time I go back home to visit my parents, my dad gives me a grocery bag full of the fruit. I happily accept, especially because these babies go for up to $6 a pound at local farmers markets!
My dad has both the Fuyu (flat, tomato like in shape) and Hachiya (elongated like a giant acorn) variety. Persimmons have a very delicate flavor. Its kinda difficult explaining how it tastes, but if you get a ripe one, its super delicious. I eat the Fuyu persimmon like an apple. I prefer to eat them firm, chilled, peeled, and cut into thick slices. (The Hachiya is better to puree and bake with. See: persimmon pecan bread and persimmon walnut bread)
Fuyu persimmon are commonly used in Autumn salads, but today I’m roasting it and tossing it into a cheesy pasta!
I cut the persimmon into cubes and coat it in a little olive oil. I seasoned it with a sprinkle of salt and pepper and a pinch of fresh thyme, and then roasted it like you’d do with butternut squash. Half an hour later, I could smell the sweet aroma of the persimmon baking away.
Rather than making a regular old mac-n-cheese, I put together all my autumn favorites– sharp cheddar cheese, caramelized onions, arugula and persimmon. I am so happy with the results. It’s my new go-to autumn pasta dish, especially because I still have pounds of persimmon waiting to be harvested at my parents’ house.
Autumn Persimmon Arugula Pasta
Yield: serves 4
- 8 oz rigatoni
- 2 1/2 cups firm persimmon, peeled and cut into cubes
- 1 tsp fresh thyme, or 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 onion, sliced
- 3 large handfuls of arugula, about 3 cups packed
- 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
- 3 Tbsp grated parmesan cheese
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1/2 cup reserved pasta water
- Preheat oven to 350 degree F. In medium bowl, toss persimmon cubes with 1 Tbsp olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and thyme. Toss to combine. Bake for 30 minutes until persimmon has softened slightly and can be easily pierced with a fork. Set aside and let cool.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook rigatoni, or pasta or choice, to al dente according to package instructions. Before draining water, reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water.
- In a large nonstick skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Once butter is melted, add sliced onions. Cook until onions are almost translucent.
- Add arugula in two additions. Arugula will decrease in volume as it cooks. Cook until arugula begins to wilt.
- Remove from heat and add 3/4 cup of cheddar cheese and 3 Tbsp of parmesan cheese. Add roasted persimmon and cooked pasta. Toss to combine. The cheese will melt and get sticky. Add 1/4 cup of reserved pasta water to moisten pasta. Season with salt and pepper. Continue to add reserved pasta water, 1 Tbsp at a time until pasta is well coated with the cheesy sauce.
- Serve immediately. Serve warm so cheese is ooey and gooey. If necessary, reheat over stove. Serve with grated parmesan cheese and remaining cheddar cheese.
The Little Epicurean