Fig Bacon Jam Pasta

This Fig Bacon Jam Pasta is a recipe with that rare balance of sweet and salty, creamy and crispy. Make the fig bacon jam recipe ahead of time and you have a weeknight meal that comes together in the time it takes to cook your pasta.

I know some of you will have no interest in reading a story about how my kiddo dreamed up this recipe. If that applies to you, please jump to the recipe using that button above. For everyone else, let me tell you how fun it is to watch one’s kiddo get creative in the kitchen.

a plate with angel hair pasta and fig bacon jam and topped with Parmesan and parsley.
Jump to:

The backstory

We had been getting monthly cooking boxes for about six months now, and one of the challenges she loves is the “create your own…” So for the last few weeks, she has wanted to develop a pasta recipe.

She was insistent on using angel hair pasta. I hate angel hair pasta. It has a narrow window between when it’s done and when it’s overdone and sticking to everything. But that’s what she wanted.

We talked a bit about what sauces go best with long noodles and which could go with short pastas. And she decided that she wanted a fig and bacon jam on her angel hair pasta.

Tip from the wise quacker: the teaching is to use long noodles like spaghetti with thinner sauces. And use short, chunky shapes with chunky sauces. But rules are meant to be broken if you prefer something else!

Worst case scenario was that we ended up with a bunch of bacon and fig jam. So I created a recipe for a fig pasta sauce with kiddo’s input, and she implemented.

Ingredients

dried figs on a countertop.

 

Figs are the fruit of a Ficus that is native to the Mediterranean although figs are now grown worldwide, including here in Seattle. You can use Mission figs or another type of dried fig in this recipe. Or, if have a bounty of fresh figs, just skip the hydration step.

Please see the recipe card below for complete information on ingredients and quantities.

Substitutions and variations

  • Replace dried figs with dates, dried cherries, dried apricots, or prunes.
  • Instead of brown sugar, use maple syrup like this amazing smoked maple syrup!
  • Add bourbon for a bourbon fig jam.
  • Use a different pasta shape instead of angel hair pasta.

Recipe tips and tricks

Cooking the bacon

Step 1: cook the bacon until crisp. You can use a cast iron griddle or a roasting pan.

uncooked bacon slices on a rack in a pan.
crisped bacon slices on a rack in a pan.

Preparing the ingredients

Step 2: Chop the onions, garlic, and bacon. This silicone garlic peeler is a great tool for peeling garlic, and I trust kiddo with this so much more than having her smash cloves.

a silicone garlic peeler on the counterop.

Don’t worry too much about chopping things finely because it all goes into the food processor in the end. That’s great when you’ve got a kiddo in the kitchen!

kiddo chopping peeled garlic.
kiddo breaking apart crisped bacon.

Making the fig and bacon jam

Step 3: Cook the onions in a tablespoon of bacon fat or olive oil in a large lidded pan until softened and starting to brown, about 10 minutes. Then add the garlic and cook for one minute.

Step 4: Add the rest of the ingredients and cook over low heat for about one hour, stirring occasionally. Add a splash of water if the mixture appears too dry. The figs should be practically falling apart.

the cooked fig bacon jam in a frying pan.

Step 5: Add the jam to your food processor or blender and process until smooth. Add the fig bacon jam back to the pan to keep warm if you’re making the fig pasta.

warming the fig bacon jam in the pan.

What to serve with fig bacon jam

Recipe FAQs

Can I make this ahead of time?

Partially. You can make the fig bacon jam and keep it in the refrigerator. Then you’re just waiting for water to boil to get your fig bacon jam pasta on the table!

Will it freeze?

Yes, bacon jam will keep in a jar in the refrigerator for a few weeks, or you can freeze it for a few months.

What else can I make with dried figs?

We love dried figs as a snack. Or you can make homemade fig newtons.

If you love this fig pasta, check out the pasta archives for other great recipes like:

Love this recipe? Please leave a 5-heart 💜💜💜💜💜 rating in the recipe card below. Let me know how much you loved it, or any problems you had, in the comments section further down.

Recipe

Fig Bacon Jam Pasta

5 from 1 vote
Category: Pasta
Cuisine: Unspecified
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 1886kcal
This fig bacon jam pasta recipe has a rare balance of sweet and salty, creamy and crispy. Make the fig and bacon jam ahead of time and you have a meal that comes together in the time it takes to cook pasta.
Print Recipe

Equipment

  • Food processor or blender

Ingredients

Fig bacon jam

  • 12 strips (¾ pound) bacon
  • 1 cup (about 15) dried figs, stems removed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (if not using bacon fat for cooking)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • ½ cup balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup (48 grams) light brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes

Fig bacon jam pasta

  • 1 pound angel hair pasta
  • cream or reserved pasta water for thinning as necessary
  • 1 ounce Parmesan, grated for serving
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley for serving

Instructions

Fig Bacon Jam

  • Cook the bacon until crispy, and then remove to a plate with paper towels. Reserve 1 tablespoon of bacon fat from the pan to cook the bacon jam, if desired.
    12 strips (¾ pound) bacon
  • When the bacon is cool enough to handle, chop or break it apart into small pieces.
  • Meanwhile, place the figs in a heatproof measuring cup and cover with boiling water to rehydrate for 10 to 20 minutes. Drain.
    1 cup (about 15) dried figs, stems removed
  • Heat the reserved bacon fat or oil in a large pan over medium-low heat. When hot, add the onions and cook about 10 minutes until soft and just starting to brown.
    1 tablespoon olive oil (if not using bacon fat for cooking), 1 medium onion, chopped
  • Add the garlic and cook, stirring for one minute.
    1 garlic clove, chopped
  • Add the remaining ingredients (bacon, drained figs, balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, salt, and black and red pepper) and cook over low heat for about one hour, stirring occasionally, until the figs are soft and starting to fall apart. Add a tablespoon or two of water as it cooks if the mixture becomes too dry.
    12 strips (¾ pound) bacon, 1 cup (about 15) dried figs, stems removed, ½ cup balsamic vinegar, ¼ cup (48 grams) light brown sugar, ¼ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon black pepper, 1 pinch red pepper flakes
  • Transfer the entire mixture to a food processor or blender and process until smooth. Transfer the fig and bacon jam back to the pan to keep it warm until ready to use.

Fig Bacon Jam Pasta

  • Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted, boiling water. When al dente, reserve a cup of pasta water and then drain.
    1 pound angel hair pasta
  • Immediately return the pasta to the pasta pot and add the fig pasta sauce, mixing quickly (I find tongs easiest). You may need to add some of the reserved pasta water or some cream for ease of mixing.
    cream or reserved pasta water for thinning
  • Serve immediately, topped with Parmesan and garnished with the chopped parsley.
    1 ounce Parmesan, grated, 2 tablespoons chopped parsley

Notes

This recipe makes 2 cups of fig bacon jam.
This fig bacon jam can be stored in the refrigerator for a few weeks or the freezer for a few months.

Nutrition

Calories: 1886kcal | Carbohydrates: 264g | Protein: 54g | Fat: 68g | Saturated Fat: 21g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 11g | Monounsaturated Fat: 30g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 99mg | Sodium: 1462mg | Potassium: 1521mg | Fiber: 16g | Sugar: 80g | Vitamin A: 533IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 363mg | Iron: 6mg
Love this recipe?Mention @Uglyducklingbakery or tag #uglyducklingbakery!

This fig and bacon jam pasta recipe was first posted May 19, 2021. It was last updated June 10, 2023.

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