Ali Matteini

a life creative

My Cucina Toscana: Castagnaccio Recipe

I’ve waxed lyrical about the humble chestnut of Monte Amiata in past posts. I’m probably a little obsessed by them, given that I hail from the antipodes where a good chestnut is few and far between.

IMG_3482

With winter already we’re coming out the other side of chestnut season. Gone are those short sweet weeks of autumn collecting and roasting (or boiling with wild fennel seed – MWAH!) fresh nuts.
Anyone who’s travelled to our region will understand we take our chestnuts very seriously, and we consume them by the gross tonnage. We even have the festa della castagna [several of them] dedicated to these starling-coloured baubles. During this time in particular chestnuts find themselves the main ingredient in everything from pasta to polenta, soups to sweets.

After the seasonal excitement gives way, the method by which  to ease your shoulder-season chestnut fix until next October is in the form dried nuts, those preserved in alcohol, marrons glacé, a sweet and glorious conserve (crema di marroni), and ground as flour.

Well, it was my husband’s birthday yesterday and guess what his favourite food is? The b-boy’s request this year was that I make the sweet called Castagnaccio (pronounced Cast-ahniyah-cho).

Challenge accepted.

Castagnaccio_kit

It’s possible to buy ready-to-mix Castagnaccio kits

Ingredients:

  • 300g chestnut flour
  • 50g pine nuts
  • 50g sultanas
  • Sprig of fresh rosemary
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (please, please don’t use the cheap lamp oil from the supermarket. Read here on the oily scandal and then go invest in some real extra olive oil)
  • 1 or 2 cups of tepid water (how much you use will depend on the coarseness and freshness of the chestnut flour)
  • Pinch of salt (I’m sure this does nothing but keep the demons at bay)

Castagniaccio_Step1

Method:

Add the water to the flour, stir until it’s mixed into a smooth consistency, taking care to include those dusty lumps hiding out in air bubbles. Add the olive oil, half of the pine nuts and 3/4 of the sultanas and the small gesture of salt.

Castagniaccio_Step2

Pour into a square or rectangular oven dish that you’ve lined with baking paper, smooth off the surface, give the oven dish a good tap to even out the level [ideally you want the slice to be around 2cm thickness], top with the remaining sultanas, pine nuts and the rosemary leaves. Drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil over the top.

Castagniaccio_Step3

Bake in the oven at 200ºC for 40 minutes. Allow to cool and serve at room temperature…

FullSizeRender (2)

…and devour without further ado.

It’s so simple and delicious – probably what we Aussies would liken to a slice. I know it’s a bit odd to add rosemary and olive oil to a sweet, but the combination works so well.

Rosemarino
Castagnaccio is completely vegan, free of gluten, egg, dairy, and sugar-free aside from the sultanas, which many of the recipes omit. This time around I added the saved sugar syrup that my marrons glacé bathed in for the better part of a week. It’s optional. I’ll also add more or less water depending on the time of year I’m making castagnaccio and/or the quality and coarseness of the flour as  there are no preservatives whatsoever so the flour can lose some of its seasonal oomph and can become a bit starchy.

Next Wednesday: In keeping with the chestnut theme my trial and error recipe Castagne Candite a.k.a marrons glacé [candied chestnuts].

A presto
Cheers and ciao,
Ali

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Recent Posts

Archives

What’s Happening on Monte Amiata:

Follow Ali Matteini on WordPress.com

Enter your email address for creative updates straight to your inbox. Spam free zone!

Join 887 other followers

Blogs I Follow

Flag Counter
stats
for wordpress
A Ciência nas Coisas

Fatos e Curiosidades sobre a Natureza e tecnologia

JamesRadcliffe.com

James Radcliffe, Musician. Music, Blog, Pictures, Live, News...

LIBERO SLANCIO

"per l' allegria il pianeta nostro è poco attrezzato. Bisogna strappare la gioia ai giorni futuri "

the poet's billow

a resource for moving poetry

Two Twitch A Tale

Linking collage work to the meaning of personal and universal symbols.

At Home in Florence: Italian Renovations

This is my adventurous story about buying, designing, and renovating homes in ITALY

aliisaacstoryteller

guardian of irish mythology

Dirty, Naked & Happy

the erratic journals of a happily incorrigible lady-child

Gathering just-a-bit-o moss

Attempting not to make too little or too much sense

shifuyanlei

I help you unlock the peace and strength already within you

Tara Sparling writes

Book Humour. A Sideways Perspective on the Bonkers Business of Books

Disintegrazioni

"C’è molta speranza, ma nessuna per noi." (Franz Kafka)

A Holistic Journey

Finding my way back out of motherhood -- while mothering

expatriotgames

Expatty-cakes: Diary of an American southerner turned expat

globalwanderings.ca

Grand adventures and global wanderings. Next stop: Italy.

Martin Diotte

Creative Artist

Truth

Discover the truth about mental health

La Audacia de Aquiles

"El Mundo Visible es Sólo un Pretexto" / "The Visible World is Just a Pretext".-

Lady Of The Cakes

Vignettes from a multi-lingual, multi-cake-eating freelance existence

SmirkPretty

Eyes ten degrees above the horizon

Crafted in Carhartt

about women who do amazing things

Fugitive Fragments

by Mike McGuire

Creative State of Mind

A Blog by Tricia Drammeh

elizabeth frattaroli

Writing for Children and Young Adults #amwriting

Jane Dougherty Writes

About fantastical places and other stuff

Lucy's Light

Underground Energy - Scientific Documentation of the failures of an OCD albatross + friends

REBELMONKEY23

A topnotch WordPress.com site

Blood On Borrowed Wings

I write, I love, I run, I play, I break things.

rrearick

In the Groove...

Interno Poesia

Blog e progetto editoriale di poesia

Poesy plus Polemics

Words of Wonder, Worry and Whimsy

Lasciatemi Pensare.

se non sarò serena, mi rasserenerò

Chapter TK

Question Everything

Globe Drifting

Global issues, travel, photography & fashion. Drifting across the globe; the world is my oyster, my oyster through a lens.

Indie Hero

Brian Marggraf, Author of Dream Brother: A Novel, Independent publishing advocate, New York City dweller

Vonj Productions

Bringing you love through spirit!

A Mirror Obscura,

Poetry, musings and sightings from where the country changes

Zenobia Frost

Writer and editor

Aisha's Oasis

A peaceful place to relax while on my wild joyride to Egypt from South Carolina.

The Perfect Nose

Sewing, illustration and design.

%d bloggers like this: