Persimmons had starred in the salad for Thanksgiving dinner. One had graced a grilled cheese and persimmon sandwich for lunch. Several made a delicious snack at work along with leftover roasted chestnuts.
Still, six persimmons remained in the fruit bin in the fridge, and were by now in different degrees of ripeness. As I often do when I don’t want to lose something, I cook it off in some way.
So I sliced each persimmon into wedges, placed them in a roasting pan and tossed with avocado oil to coat (had this on hand and preferred it for its more neutral flavor, wouldn’t conflict with the persimmons). Then I slid the pan into a 400° oven to cook til they browned.
I put a pot of water on to boil, and added a half cup of orzo pasta, one of my favorite comfort foods. When it came to a boil again, I lowered the heat so it could simmer til done. Then I pulled out raisins and pistachios (the ones I had were dry roasted with salt), a small handful of each.
I put the raisins in a small bowl, and added rum for them to plump in (a favorite rum, almost like a bourbon, from La Colombe called Different Drum Rum). A nice way to add another layer of flavor.
I shelled the pistachios and chopped them.
I rolled a few leaves of basil together and sliced into thin ribbons.
I checked the persimmons after about 30 minutes, and turned them all to brown on the other side for an additional five minutes. I took them out and swore there was a custardy, vanilla-y smell to them.
When the orzo was done, I drained in a colander, then slid it all back into the pot, where I coated with a little avocado oil, and salt and pepper. Then, to echo the creaminess of the persimmons, I stirred one or two tablespoons of mascarpone cheese into the pasta.
Assembly: orzo first, topped with persimmon wedges, and then sprinkled with raisins, pistachios and ribbons of basil.
Each element brought its own treat, but nothing overwhelmed. Sometimes there’d be a bite that included a raisin, and there it was, that hint of warm alcohol. Or a back note of mint and realize it was basil. The pistachios added beautiful color with their purple and green, and a little salty crunch. The persimmons, roasted, went from their light, creamy sweetness to an almost caramelized mellow.
A delicious bowl of comfort food for one, soothing and satisfying on a cold night.