Chestnut and bean minestrone
Here is the easiest possible recipe, a comforting and warm dish that is perfect for the winter. If one prefers, the beans can be replaced with barley.
This minestrone originally comes from the inner and mountainous areas of Sardinia as it once constituted a very nourishing and fundamental dish for populations in the hidden and remote mountain areas, like for example, Bitti or Gavoi. Served hot with roasted bread, it’s a simple but very tasty meal.
250 grams/ 9 oz dried beans
500 grams/ 18 oz of chestnuts (if dried 250 and they need to soak like the beans)
150 grams / 5 oz of fresh lard
An onion, a carrot, 2 cloves of garlic and 2 sun dried tomatoes all chopped
2 bay leaves
Olive oil and salt
The day before soak the beans (chestnuts too if dried)
Boil the beans in two litres of water, peel the chestnuts and boil them in a pan of slightly salty water with the bay leaves and the lard. Place the chopped vegetables in a pan with a tablespoon of olive oil and leave on a low heat, as soon as the chestnuts are cooked add them and the beans to the chopped vegetables with some of the water, keep the remaining water in case you may need it. Cook for another 30 minutes and serve piping hot. Just before serving add the parsley chopped very finely, a dash of olive oil and a touch of grated cheese (parmesan or pecorino). Serve with some roasted slices of bread.
Chestnut chocolate balls
150 gr/ 5 oz dried chestnuts
50 gr. 1 1/2 oz Plain chocolate (half a bar)
Granulated sugar to cover
a pinch of salt
Soak the dried chestnuts a day in advance then cook them in their own water with a pinch of salt in a pressure cooker for 25 minutes. In a normal pan, the double amount of time is necessary. Grate the chocolate in a wide deep dish. Add the slightly cooled chestnuts with a little of their water and with a fork mash them with the chocolate. Shape them into small balls and roll them in the granulated sugar. Serve with coffee!