Rigatoni with Figs & Brussels Sprouts

A veggie-packed pasta dish for fall & winter. Brussels sprouts, greens, cheese & figs combine to create a sweet & savory entree with a crispy baked topping.

It’s Food Matters Project Monday… I have to say, at first, I wasn’t excited about this week’s pick… I even almost skipped it entirely, but I’m so glad I didn’t!

Flipping through any cookbook, this would never be a recipe I would stop on. The original recipe calls for blue cheese, which I don’t care for. And creamy, cheesy pasta dishes aren’t exactly my thing (I’m lactose intolerant, it’s not my fault). But it turns out, for comfort food, this is actually on the lighter side and the Brussels sprout and fig combo is just so delicious.

There’s a bit of cheese, but not too much… and instead of milk or cream, it’s thickened with a bit of starchy pasta water. I used fontina instead of blue cheese. Fresh figs weren’t available, so I used dried ones and they worked well (although I would try fresh next time). Either way, I just love the contrast of these salty & sweet flavors.

I mixed in a large handful of arugula (raw, just before pouring the mixture into the baking pan), and instead of crushed almonds I sprinkled a little panko on top for a crispy baked crust.

I used this whole grain pasta that I had never tried before, and it was the perfect nutty compliment. Brown rice pasta would also work well here.

Adapted from the Food Matters Cookbook.

4.0 from 1 reviews

Rigatoni with Figs & Brussels Sprouts

Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 4
  • 8 ounces whole grain rigatoni
  • 1.5 pounds Brussels sprouts, roughly chopped
  • 4 ounces fontina cheese, chopped in small cubes
  • 1 cup dried figs
  • Handful arugula or other baby wilt-able greens (spinach would be great)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup chopped almonds
  • ¼ cup panko bread crumbs
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • Sea salt and fresh black pepper
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease a 9 x 13 inch baking pan.
  2. Boil your pasta until cooked halfway through (3-4 minutes). Add the Brussels sprouts and cook for another 3 or so minutes until the Brussels sprouts are just starting to become tender. Drain, and reserve some of the pasta water.
  3. Return the pasta & Brussels sprouts to the empty pot. Stir in the cheese, figs, greens, two tablespoons of olive oil, and a splash of the reserved pasta water. Sprinkle with salt & pepper and taste and adjust seasonings.
  4. Pour pasta into the baking pan, top with the almonds and panko, and bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown on top.



Leave a comment:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Rate this recipe (after making it):  

  1. Leslie

    Was skeptical. But tried it anyway because we had lots of Brussels sprouts. Recipe seemed a little light on flavor so I sautéed a leek and a portobello mushroom that needed to be used., and added a light Alfredo sauce before popping into oven. It was still a little dry. We loved the surprising light sweet flavor of the figs. Will make again with more moisture and more mushroom

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

  2. Jenn

    The website you listed is no longer active, is there any way you can post this recipe? It sounds wonderful!

    • jeanine

      oh yes, of course, I’ll post here a little later today…

      • Jenn

        Thanks so much, I can’t wait to make it! I’m new to your site and although I’m vegan your site is giving me so much inspiration. It’s also beautifully designed! Thanks for the good food! 🙂

        • jeanine

          thanks & welcome! (although sorry that particular recipe isn’t vegan)…

  3. Joanne from joanne-eatswellwithothers.com

    I’m so glad you tried it even though you were on the fence. In the end, I kind of wanted a more melty cheese so fontina sounds like a great addition!

  4. Kristen from mindyourbeesandtrees.com

    I was very skeptical about this dish too, but also found it to be pretty light–especially for a pasta dish! I love that you threw in some arugula…great idea!!

  5. Ive never thought about putting dried figs in a pasta, I’m intrigued… must be delicious with the blue cheese! Sorry vegan 🙂

  6. Margarita from letscookandbefriends.blogspot.com

    I kept adding the pasta water that I saved too to keep my pasta from getting too dry as it was baking. Lovely bakeware! I have one in red.

  7. Heather from sundaymorningbananapancakes.blogspot.com

    I love the idea of combining figs and brussel sprouts with pasta; this is my kind of dish!
    So glad that you didn’t in fact skip over this and decided to make it; thanks for sharing 🙂

  8. Beautiful. Love the idea of pairing a strong cheese like fontina with some sweet figs and bitter greens. Really great flavours for a pasta dish. Thanks for sharing 🙂 Lovely photo as always! 🙂

  9. Jenn from vanillalemon.com

    Mmm, yes, adding greens is a wonderful idea. And, I LOVE your yellow dish!

  10. erin from naturallyella.com

    Love the additions of the greens! I almost skipped it too (mainly because I didn’t have any pasta) but I ended up making it (and loving it!)

    Beautiful Dish, Jeanine!

  11. Lena from mrsgarlichead.com

    I don’t care too much for cheesy casseroles either, but this recipe was really good. Cheesy but not too heavy. Interesting that so many participants almost skipped this recipe, but everyone liked it in the end. Love it

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.