Fuyu Persimmons with Savory Goat Cheese Pasta

fuyu persimmons pastaFuyu persimmons are almost too gorgeous to eat. Bright orange and shiny, they hang from their branches like holiday ornaments, brightening the gray fall skies. In season from mid-October through December, fuyu persimmons grow all over my neighborhood, but judging by the fact that so many of them go unharvested, no one seems to know what to do with them. This is great news for me, because I love to use these delicious specimens in both sweet and savory recipes.

fuyu persimmons in a row

Fuyu persimmons (the flatter, more squat type that are shaped like tomatoes) are meant to be eaten when they are firm, like apples. Their flavor—rich, sweet, and with an ever-so-slight hint of something spicy like cinnamon—makes them an obvious fruit for desserts. A quick internet search will lead you to lots of recipes for persimmon breads, cakes, puddings, and tarts. You can also  substitute them for apples or pears in your favorite recipes.

fuyu persimmons in skillet for roastingI like to use fuyu persimmons in savory dishes, too. Use them as you would sweet winter squashes, like butternut or pumpkin. This savory vegetarian pasta dish is a great example. You could imagine it made with butternut squash in place of the persimmon, but the persimmon adds an extra dose of sweetness that plays off the other salty, tangy, and umami flavors of the dish.

roasted fuyu persimmons in skillet

Pasta with Roasted Fuyu Persimmons, Kale, and Goat Cheese
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Serves: Serves 4 to 6
 
In this vegetarian pasta dish, the sweetness of roasted fuyu persimmons is balanced by the bitterness of kale, the tanginess of goat cheese, and the saltiness of Parmesan. The roasted red onions and mushrooms add additional sweetness and umami, as well as textural variation. A sprinkle of nutty, toasted pine nuts adds a bit of crunch, too. I use a cast-iron skillet to roast the persimmon and vegetables because it caramelizes them so well, but you could use any oven-safe baking dish or skillet.
Ingredients
  • 4 fuyu persimmons, peeled, cored, and cut into wedges
  • ½ red onion, thinly sliced
  • 6 ounces mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 8 ounces kale, ribs removed and leaves julienned
  • 8 ounces cavatappi or other short pasta (rotini, fusilli, penne, etc.), cooked according to package directions
  • 4 ounces goat cheese
  • Parmesan cheese, for garnish
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375ºF.
  2. In a large cast-iron skillet, baking dish, or rimmed baking sheet, toss the persimmons, onion, and mushrooms with the olive oil and season with ¼ teaspoon of the salt. Roast in the preheated oven, stirring once halfway through cooking, for about 25 minutes, until the persimmon begins to turn golden brown and caramelized and the onions and mushrooms are soft.
  3. Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to the package directions.
  4. Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the kale, and season with the remaining ¼ teaspoon of salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until the kale is tender.
  5. Drain the cooked pasta and toss with the kale. When the persimmon and vegetables are finished roasting, toss them with the pasta as well. Crumble the goat cheese over the top and serve hot, garnished with pine nuts and Parmesan cheese.

 

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