Friday, March 11, 2011

LINGUINI MENDIANT (Beggar's linguine)

We are cooking from Dorie Greenspan's cookbook "Around my French Table." Our group is French Fridays with Dorie , and this week's entry is a pasta dish, whose official name is linguine mendiant, or beggar's linguine.
It reminds me of rice pilaf dishes I make, which include raisins, pine nuts, walnuts, and sometimes sausage. In this recipe the rice is replaced by pasta, and figs are also added. Butter is plentiful here (12 tablespoons!), unless of course you cut the amount down to 4 and then add about 3 tablespoons of good old fashioned olive oil, which is what I did. Gone are the days, days of me in my twenties and thirties, when such things did not concern me. Days when I thought I was indestructible.

So heat up the butter and olive oil in a large pan, add the walnuts, almonds, raisins and figs, sauté them well and pour the linguine on top. Mix well to coat it evenly and season with salt and lots of pepper. Get a nice serving platter and arrange the linguine mixture on top. Sprinkle the pasta with some orange zest, some freshly ground Parmesan cheese and some parsley. Voilà! The linguine mendiant is ready. Now comes time to taste it: Mmm. The nuts give it a very nice flavor, but it's kind of sweet. My mistake. I used too many figs because I love, love, love them.

Dorie Greenspan explains that the word mendiant, which means beggar in French, is used to describe a combination of ingredients that represent the four mendicant monastic orders: dried figs are for the Franciscans, raisins are for the Dominicans, and the nuts are for the Augustinians and Carmelites. The mendicant concoction appears in desserts, and in this recipe it's used in a savory dish. I should have added some Gorgonzola to this linguine I think. Figs and Gorgonzola make a great combination, and the cheese would have probably cut down on the sweetness of the dish. Maybe next time.


  1. It looks really good!
    I wish I had thought to chop out some of the butter, but this was wonderful, wasn't it? Gorgonzola is a great thought in lieu of the parmesean.

  2. I wish I had cut down the amount of butter too. Your pasta looks great :)

  3. Lovely pics - it looks delicious! I'm intrigued by your rice pilaf with raisins, pine nuts and sausage, too. I think I put too many figs in my Beggar's Linguine as well, but no one was complaining over here!


  4. This dish looks wonderful. I like the look of the celery leaves on it.
    Tricia and I enjoyed making our dishes also, even though we thought
    the ingredients odd. Both of our families loved them.

  5. I loved this dish! It would be interesting to try with gorgonzola.

  6. This is my first time to your blog and I love your header photo! I'd assumed it was a japanese cherry blossom at first glance. I've never seen a sweet almond blossom. So beautiful. Great post!

  7. Thank you for your lovely comments everyone. Cher and chef pandita, I cut down on the amount of butter because of doctor's orders -my triglyceride levels go up if I don't-so what else can I do? Karla, I 'll be sure to make the rice pilaf and I'll let you know, Nana and Allison thank you for your beautiful words!

  8. Your linguine looks wonderful! I love the idea of figs & gorgonzola, too.

  9. Figs are my idea of heaven. Never tried them with pasta though. Thanks for sharing, I might give this a try.