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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

zuppa di castagne e cicerchie

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
  • parsley
  • rosemary
  • salt and pepper

Preparation

  1. 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.
  2. Add water and cook for about 20 minutes.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

zuppa di castagne e cicerchie

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.

 

If winter means soups, soups in January mean winter vegetables, of which cabbage and potatoes are surely the most common example, and this Cabbage, potato and shallot soup is also the symbol of peasant cuisine par excellence, enriched with an idea for a zero waste recipe.

Even if the Christmas holidays of 2020 were not all about socialising and big family meals, the rich menus of tradition are too good not to tempt us, and so, as a recipe for Epiphany that makes us turn off the lights of celebrations, I propose a simple dish, prepared with what is hardly missing in the kitchen in winter: the long-lived vegetables that love the cold and dark winter days, namely cabbage, potatoes and various onions.

Added to this is also a necessity. After preparing kilos and kilos of succulent fillings made from stewed meat and Parmigiano Reggiano of two different maturations for Anolini or Cappelletti alla parmigiana, my fridge is full of cheese rinds that it would be sacrilegious to throw away, so I urgently need ideas on how to make the most out of them, and soups are always a good solution.

And since it is customary to consume pulses, particularly lentils, as a wish for wealth and abundance for the New Year, I thought I would complete the soup by adding Barilla Legumottithe fantastic grains made with lentil, chickpea and pea flour, which in just 9 minutes give us the full and authentic flavour of pulses in the form of pasta: you know I am a real fan of Legumotti, which I have also proposed in other mouth-watering recipes.

With the simplicity of a zero waste dish, vegetarian and prepared with few ingredients, I wish you a 2021 of health, serenity and… lots of work for everyone!

Le verdure della zuppa

Cabbage, potato and shallot soup

6.65g carbohydrates per 100g

Ingredients for 4 servings

  • 1lt vegetable stock
  • 500g cabbage
  • 230g potato
  • 125g Barilla Legumotti*
  • 100g shallot
  • 50g rinds of Parmesan cheese
  • 1 clove garlic
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • pepper
  • salt

*Ingredients whose labels must read “gluten-free” (or, in Italy, present on  Prontuario AIC)

Preparation

  1. Cut the shallot into thin slices and brown it in a pan with a little extra virgin olive oil. Add the finely diced potatoes and chopped garlic clove and season for a few minutes. Finally, add the cabbage cut into strips, mix well and cover with the vegetable stock.
  2. Also add the Parmesan cheese rinds: use a knife to scrape the outer surface to remove any dust, then cut them into pieces of a few centimetres. Put the lid on and cook for 20 minutes.
  3. Adjust salt, throw the Legumotti into the soup and add vegetable stock if there is not enough liquid to cook.
  4. Serve the soup with a drizzle of oil and a grinding of pepper.

Zuppa di cavoli, patate e scalogno

Version with gluten

This recipe is naturally gluten-free.