Chestnut and Proscuitto Pasta

“Chestnuts roastiiing…on an ooopen fire…,” Well, more like an oven in this case, though I did watch David Rocco roast these little morsels over an open fire in the middle of a forest of chestnut trees in an episode of Dolce Vitta on the Cooking Channel (so jealous!). Like many of you,  I love experimenting in the kitchen, so when I hit the grocery store I am always on the lookout for something interesting to play with. A few weeks ago, I brought home fresh chestnuts.

Aaaah.  I had visions of these little  Japanese tea cakes I used to have in Okinawa. My sister, friends, and I would sometimes have tea with our teachers after school let out.  We sat on the tatami, watching our sensei make the tea. Then she would cut these beautiful little cakes to serve with the tea. There was this one I absolutely loved. It had a juicy, candied chestnut (“kuri”) hidden at its center rather than  that traditional sweet bean paste. I wish I could find a picture for you all. I googled and googled, but so far have not been able to find the cake from my memory. Ah, well.

After a debate with myself as I passed the mochiko (sweet rice flour)  in the International aisle at Wegmans , however, I admitted that now was not the time to teach myself to tackle the art of Japanese pastries. Between getting ready for Christmas and the stress at the office (as you may recall from my post last week)…yeah, I needed something easier!  It is times like this that remind me my move to a smart phone was a pretty good decision, lol. Thanks to my Epicurious app, I found this tasty recipe, which I made only a few tiny changes to.

Chestnut and Prosciutto Pasta

adapted from Epicurious Tagliatelle with Chestnuts, Pancetta, and Sage

Ingredients:
  • 40z pkg of cubed Prosciutto (1/4 lb if you’re lucky enough to have a butcher)
  • 1 cup roasted chestnuts, chopped
  • 1/2 a medium white Onion
  • 5-8 oz Baby Bella Mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 tbsp fresh Sage, chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh Italian Parsley, chopped
  • 3-4 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan
  • 6 oz egg Pasta (egg noodles, tagliatelle, fettuccine)
  • 2 tbsp Butter
  • 1 tbsp Olive OIl
  • 1 cup reserved Pasta Water
Directions
  1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Retain 1 cup of the pasta water when noodles are cooked
  2. In the meanwhile, heat a large pan over medium heat and cook prosciutto until nicely browned
  3. Add onion to the pan, stir and cook until translucent
  4. Add garlic, half the sage, and half the parsley. Stir for 1 minute
  5. Add mushrooms. Stir and cook until softened
  6. Add Chestnuts. Stir to mix and removed from heat
  7. Add butter, olive oil, and Parmesan to the prosciutto mixture and mix well
  8. Slowly pour reserved pasta water into the pan, whisking with your spoon to blend the Parmesan into a creamy sauce*
  9. Season with salt and pepper to taste
  10. Add the cooked pasta to the pan and toss until well coated
  11. Garnish with remaining sage and parsley and serve
*I messed up here. I did not have enough grated Parmesan so I used some shredded Romano to help make up the difference…and the cheese totally clumped up rather than turn into an Alfredoesque sauce. Happily, I was able to solve this with leftovers. When I re-heated, I added 1 tsbp of cream and after stirring I had a lovely creamy sauce.
Click here to learn how to oven roast Fresh Chestnuts. I added an extra step of using a meat mallet to bust open the shells b/c they’re hot and once they start to cool they get hard again!

Cut an "X" into the flat part of the Chestnut to prevent Chestnut firecrackers in your oven

Chestnuts ready to come out of the oven

 

 

 

Meat mallet comes in handy for cracking shells fast!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Add Poll

Chestnut comes out of its shell

 

Deliciousness!

 

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4 responses to “Chestnut and Proscuitto Pasta

  1. What a different and unusual pasta dish. I think it sounds great.

  2. This is a dish I’d love! I have a pile of chestnuts and was wondering how to roast them… I like how you have to cut an x on the top of each… imagine if you didn’t and they started exploding in the oven:)

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