Chestnut season has arrived and that means roasting them in the oven or over the fire. But there are also tons of other ways to enjoy chestnuts, both savory and sweet. Read on for tips on selecting and preparing one of fall’s best treats.
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Bacon Wrapped Chestnuts
Makes 8 servings
1 pound bacon
1 pound roasted, shelled chestnuts
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup ketchup
1 teaspoon chili powder
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Slice each strip of bacon in half widthwise and wrap around chestnuts; place a toothpick in each chestnut to keep bacon secure.
Arrange chestnuts on a baking sheet and cook 15 to 20 minutes, or until bacon is mostly cooked.
Meanwhile, whisk brown sugar with mayonnaise, ketchup, and chili powder. Spoon mixture over chestnuts and bake another 10 to 15 minutes, or until bacon is crispy. Serve immediately.
Angel hair with Chestnuts and Mushrooms
Makes 4 to 6 servings
1/2 cup peeled and sliced shallots
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cups roasted and shelled chestnuts, chopped
1-ounce fresh mushrooms, chopped
8-ounces frozen peas
1 tablespoon butter
1 pound angel hair pasta
Sauté the shallots in 1 tablespoon of olive oil until tender; season with salt; add 1 cup of the chestnuts and season with a little more salt. Cook about 5 to 7 minutes, or until the chestnuts turn golden.
Add the mushrooms and peas to the skillet and cook, adding the rest of the olive oil and butter; season with pepper. Cook until mushrooms are tender; add the rest of the chestnuts and cook a few more minutes.
Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions, or until al dente; drain, saving some of the pasta water.
Toss pasta with chestnut mixture, adding a few tablespoons of the pasta water to thin out the sauce. Serve with grated cheese on top.
Makes 10 servings
1 pound roasted and shelled chestnuts
1 cup granulated sugar
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup dark rum
1 tablespoons water
2 pounds ricotta cheese
4 large eggs, beaten
Combine the chestnuts in a pot with 1/2 cup sugar, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, rum, and water; bring mixture to a simmer and cook 5 to 6 minutes, or until mixture has become thick. When finished, break down chestnuts with spatula; reserve until ready to use.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a spring form pan with butter.
Beat ricotta with eggs, remaining sugar, and remaining vanilla until well combined. Add the chestnut mixture and stir well.
Spoon the cheesecake into the prepared pan and bake 1 hour in a water bath. Reduce the heat to 300 degrees F and bake an extra 15 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Make sure cheesecake does not crack.
How to roast chestnuts in the oven
Roasted chestnuts are great served warm and a fantastic addition to salads, stuffings, and desserts.