Castagne forestiere

Image Credit : Wikimedia Commons

Marrons, sweet chestnuts, kastanje…made into a sauce and served with pasta.

The vegetarian equivalent of beef steak mince, without the greasy, sour, nauseating aftertaste of dead cow.

Here’s one way to prepare it.

First, wait for late Autumn or Winter, then find a market trader selling uncooked sweet chestnuts. Buy some.

Come home and boil them in water for about ten minutes.

Remove the shell and inner skin of the nuts. Grind or chop.

Roughly chop some kind of onions and garlic and fry these in some olive oil.

Add a cup or so of some red wine, preferably a reasonably good one that got opened when a friend came over, but never got finished and sat re-corked and forlorn in the back of the cupboard, slowly starting to vinegarise, but still very palatable in a cooking sauce.

Stir the sauce and keep the heat under it until the alcohol starts to evaporate.

Add the ground or chopped sweet chestnuts.

Turn the heat down a bit on the sauce.

Boil a separate pan of water and throw in some pasta to cook.

Meanwhile, clean and chop a few other green vegetables, and if you have them, some kind of mushrooms.

When the pasta is nearly done, throw the chopped vegetables (and mushrooms if you have them) into the sweet chestnut and wine sauce.

Add a dash of sunflower oil, salt and pepper.

Just wait another five minutes.

By the magic of food chemistry you will end up with a sauce that looks rather like beef steak mince. And tastes as rich as beef steak mince. And yet it’s entirely vegan. And it’s amazing.

Serve the sauce on top of the pasta.

Eat.

Savour.

Enjoy your virtually vegan 2012 !

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