Thursday, 18 February 2010

Chestnut and Spelt Soup, Risotto Alla Milanese. Two Great Primos!

Modena, the land of Balsamic Vinegar is in the Region of Emilia Romagna, the land of Parmesan Cheese, Zampone and Ferarri. Modena is also the city of bicycles.


It's fairly flat landed  and incredibly bicycle friendly. Everyone here cycles, young and old.
There are cycle lanes everywhere and you can even rent your own bicycle from the council.
Very reminiscent of Amsterdam.

This has its pros and cons.
Pros: very environmentally friendly and helps you keep fit.
One of my students, Maria Grazia fell off her bicycle the other day and ended up with serious injuries that required surgery.
She was off school for quite a while and only returned last week!
She is one very special lady that holds a place in my heart and in honour of her return, I would like to post two recipes that she sent me.

Most people have heard of Risotto alla Milanese or have cooked it themselves many, many times.
This is Maria Grazia's take on it.

The soup, on the other hand sounds quite intringuing and I'm assured it tastes divine.

Hope you try it so I can pass my greatest thanks to Maria Grazia! :)

Buono appetito!
Please note that, as always, I didn't edit the recipes. Quite like to leave them as they were written by the students.

Spelt or Farro, Cannellini beans and Chestnut’s soup
Ingredients for 8/10 people

400 gr. Dried chestnuts
400 gr. Cannellini beans
200 gr. Spelt
100 gr. Bacon
1 onion
1 spoon of parsley
2 cloves of garlic
2 tomatoes red and firm
1 little spoon of leaves of rosemary
2 little red pepper
Olive oil

Put in the tepid water the beans the evening before. One hour before the preparation put the chestnut in tepid water. Place the beans in a big pot, cover them of water and cook ‘till boil.
Skim the broth continuously then cook for one hour with the cover. 
Cut the bacon, mince the onion, garlic and parsley. In another pot put the bacon, garlic, parsley, cutted tomatoes, the spelt ( cleaned before) and the chestnut. Pour the beans and their broth into the bacon, garlic broth and cook for another hour on low fire. If  needed add broth. Before serving add the crushed pepper oil and minced rosemary.   

 Risotto alla Milanese
  Ingredients for 4 people

400 gr. Rice for risotto (Arborio, vialone nano)
50/60 gr. Butter
50 gr. Cheek of pork or veal (Guanciale) or smoked pancetta
One glass of dry withe wine
1 litre of vegetable stock
Some saffron
Grated Parmesan cheese
1 onion
Salt to taste

Put in a pot the butter with minced onion, add the chopped guanciale Fry for a few minutes
Add the rice and stir for two minutes, 
pour the white wine, 
after add the broth Which should be simmering in a pot, little by little always stiring, 
Don’t let the rice dry.
At the end of cooking ( after 16/18 minutes) of the rice add the saffron dissolved in a little broth, and stir.
Put the salt and remove the pot from the fire, add parmesan cheese, pepper and serve hot.
Serve with white wine

Italian Traditional Food Eaten Daily In Italy on Foodista


  1. Two excellent recipes! I love the saffron in the risotto and the soup sounds super delicious!

  2. Poor Maria! I hope she is doing better. Please tell her I love her recipes! The ingredients list in the soup reads a bit like a poem, it's nice, don't you think? : "2 tomatoes red and firm/1 little spoon of leaves of rosemary."

  3. The chestnut tree brings back good memories from my childhood in Korea! We had this huge chestnut tree in our backyard and every fall, we'd try and get all the chestnuts out of the thorny shells. :)

  4. Love chestnut soups - so have to try this. And the risotto looks fabulous - risotto and saffron - what a taste treat. Do you Fed-Ex?

    My son would love Modena (my Italian teacher is from there) as he is looking for an environmentally-friendly place to live!

  5. aweome eats Ruth looking forward to seeing your madeleines

  6. Both sound great! They look good too...

  7. Oh, poor Maria - I hope she is well on the mend, what a terrible thing to have happen.

    I've madeRisotto alla Milanese before and its divine, but have not tried the soup and I love the addition of chestnuts and spelt - two items that I do not incorporate nearly enough into my cooking so I need to try soon.

  8. I love chestnuts and this risotto is perfect!

  9. Wow! Delicious dishes! That soup looks specially good!

  10. Ruth, this post was such a treat. This is the first time I have seen chestnuts on a tree.

  11. I love this soup recipe. Been meaning to add spelt to my diet. And chestnuts sound so nice and earthy.

  12. I have never tried cooking with spelt.I would grab a spoon to dig right into the risotto. I did not realize that it was a picture of a chestnut tree. We would boil them every Christmas when I was growing up. -Tien

  13. Risotto alla Milanese is one of the best and easy recipe in the world, I learned it when I was living in Italy during four weeks with my aunt!! I love your post, thanks !22dd