A year later, I virtually set off again towards Rieti to meet with bloggers, journalists and cooking enthusiasts to discover other products of the Alta Valle del Velino area through the first recipe: Chestnut and grass pea soup.
This soup is naturally gluten-free and the presence of pulses helps to better control the carbohydrates provided by dried chestnuts and potatoes, foods that require some attention for proper blood sugar management.
The journey of flavours in the heart of Italy: Chestnut and grass pea soup
The local tourism and culture project was designed by the Rieti Viterbo Chamber of Commerce in cooperation with the Azienda Speciale Centro Italia Rieti and is aimed at highlighting the area’s excellence. Also look at the recipes cooked last year: Amatriciana and Pulse pasta with Rascino lentils.
The main ingredients of Chestnut and grass pea soup are two types of chestnuts and dried grass peas.
The chestnuts of the Rieti area are Chestnuts from Antrodoco and Rossa del Cicolano, both valuable varieties that have always been linked to the economy of these areas and thus one of the main components of the diet of mountain populations along with the rich selection of pulses. In our soup, we used dried chestnuts from Atrodoco, left to soak in water for about half an hour, and partly sliced raw to add a delicious fresh scent and a crunchy touch to the preparation.
The grass pea or Indian pea (an expression that betrays its provenance from distant lands) is a pulse whose cultivation is valuable in areas prone to drought and famine, so it ensured subsistence for farmers even in years when other products failed to bear fruit, thus important despite the difficult harvest.
Grass peas have a sweet taste, similar to that of chickpeas, that easily conquers the palate, but since they grow on stony ground it is important to subject them to a careful visual inspection before putting them in the pot: restaurants in this part of Italy are often equipped with a good insurance policy to cover any expenses for a dentist’s surgery after a tasty stop at the table!
So are you ready to discover the heart of Italy with another recipe? Let’s arm ourselves with pots and ingredients and cook it together.
Chestnut and grass pea soup
16.04 g carbohydrates per 100g
Ingredients for 4 servings
- 1.2 litres of water
- 300g dried grass peas (soak for at least 8 hours)
- 100g dried chestnuts (soak for 1 hour)
- 100g potatoes
- 20g extra virgin olive oil, plus oil for serving
- 4 whole chestnuts
- 1 clove garlic
- bay leaf
- salt and pepper
- Put extra virgin olive oil in a pan and season with chopped garlic and parsley. Add the soaked and well-drained grass peas and allow them to gain flavour for a few minutes, stirring them with a wooden spoon.
- Add water and cook for about 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, cook the soaked dried chestnuts for about 20 minutes in lightly salted water with a bay leaf. Drain and roughly chop them, then add them to the grass peas together with the diced potatoes and finish cooking.
- Take 2 ladles of soup and put them in a blender, then pour the resulting cream back into the soup so that the mixture is nicely thick.
- Peel the raw chestnuts, cut them into thin slices and serve the soup with the chestnut slices, chopped rosemary and parsley and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Complete with bread croutons to your taste.
Version with gluten of Chestnut and grass pea soup
The recipe contains only naturally gluten free ingredients, so no adaptation is necessary for its version with gluten.