In autumn, women from the farms in the Val d’Orcia would fill their pantries with goods that would last throughout the cold winter season. One of the sources was the forest, especially the woods on Mount Amiata which are rich in chestnut trees and mushrooms.
Chestnut flour used to be produced by small and poor families, who would take the time to dry the fruit in the sun. Sharecroppers who worked for landowners built drying shacks in the woods, along the slopes of the mountain. These shacks were used to dry both firewood and chestnuts. Generally they were two-story constructions: the second “floor” was made of bamboo or reed mats, with a hole in the middle so that the farmer could climb up and spread out the chestnuts to dry. On the main floor was a fireplace that would be kept burning for one month straight. The chestnuts had to be rotated often. The farmers knew that they were ready to be ground into flour with a simple test: if the peel came off when two were knocked together, they were done. Sometimes the drying hut was far away from the farm and the men stayed out for weeks. Chestnuts are rich in potassium. This is a perfect dish for those who need energy and it is also low in gluten.
- 400 gr. Casale organic chestnut linguini
- 1 medium sized onion (optional)
- 6 leaves of cabbage or kale
- Casale organic extra virgin olive oil
- 30 gr. Butter
- Dried mushrooms (or fresh porcini)
- Salt and pepper
- 200 gr of Casale semi-stagionato pecorino
- 3 tablespoons of tomato sauce
- ¾ cup of fresh milk
LEVEL: Medium SERVES: 4 PREP TIME: 20 min.
- Cut the pecorino cheese into cubes. Put it in a bowl and cover with milk.
- Clean and slice the cabbage or kale leaves and saute until soft in a pan with extra virgin olive oil, finely shopped onion and salt. Add a little tomato sauce.
- In another pan, sauté the mushrooms in olive oil for a few minutes.
- Cook the chestnut linguini in boiling water. Drain them and put them into the first pan with the cabbage.
- Add the mushrooms, the softened pecorino cheese and the butter. Gently swirl everything together. Grind some fresh pepper on top and serve very hot. Serve with a Sangiovese that has been aged for at least four years to highlight the subtle flavors and mineral notes of this dish.
One suggestion: this dish goes perfectly with Il Regio, an organic Tuscan red wine made with organic grapes for Casale by Thomas Wulf in the northern Lazio region..