When the cold weather begins, one of my favorite things to enjoy is roasted chestnuts! It Italy, they’re called castagne and you can find them everywhere. The delicious aroma fills the chilly air! You’ll see the steam rising from the special roasting ovens by street vendors in almost every piazza (plaza/square).
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My favorite castagne are prepared by a street vendor in the Italian city of Bologna, near my mother-in-law’s apartment. It’s a nice stroll through the capital city of the Emilia Romagna region and it is something special that my husband and I look forward to doing each winter.
Do Roasted Chestnuts Taste Good?
Roasted chestnuts taste so good, and are even better when paired with a glass of wine. Even more, chestnuts can be used in salads, pasta and both savory and sweet side dishes. They also add a distinct nutty flavor to stuffing and go well with many fruits and vegetables like cabbage or apples.
How Do You Roast Chestnuts at Home?
If you’ve ever wondered if you can roast chestnuts at home, wonder no longer! It’s quite simple and takes around the same time it would take to bake a cake. Chestnuts are a wonderful, natural snack. They are full of vitamins, minerals and fiber. But you don’t have to stop at roasting them. Chestnuts can also be ground into flour to bake cookies, cakes and even to thicken soups. They are just the perfect staple to have stored in the pantry during the winter.
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Do You Have To Soak Chestnuts Before Roasting?
Soaking the chestnuts helps to create steam. Although some people do this additional step, I never have. You can try it both ways and see which texture you prefer.
Three Ways to Roast Chestnuts
- Pan – An arrosticastagne is a special pan with holes in the bottom, that is used on a gas stove (or on another source of open flame). The pan allows the chestnuts to cook more evenly. It also allows the open flame to touch the chestnuts, adding to the flavor. You can also use a regular pan or a cast iron pan.
- Oven – Cook chestnuts on a lined baking sheet. (This is how I usually make them)!
- Air Fryer – Shake the air fryer basket a couple of times during cooking.
Roasted Chestnuts (Castagne)
- raw chestnuts
Preparing the Chestnuts
- Rinse and dry the chestnuts well.
- With a sharp knife (like a paring knife), carefully score the chestnuts in the center, making a line going across the round side, just piercing the inner skin and not the chestnut itself.
- Scoring is an important step, because chestnuts expand as they roast.
- Optional: Soak the scored chestnuts in a bowl of hot water for one minute to help with steaming. Drain and dry them well.
Cooking the Chestnuts
- Preheat the oven or airfryer 356F / 180C, unless you are using a pan on the stovetop.
- Oven – cook chestnuts on a lined baking sheet. Shake baking sheet halfway through cooking. Depending on your oven, you may need to flip the chestnuts so they cook evenly.
- Air Fryer – shake basket to flip chestnuts a couple of times during cooking.
- Pan – Roast over a medium-low flame, tossing often. Approximately 10-15 minutes.
Roasted Chestnuts – A Cherished Italian Treat
Enhance any meal or make a holiday even more memorable. A fruit platter, a bowl of hot roasted chestnuts and a bottle of wine (reds are my fave) are a special treat and the perfect way to end a holiday meal. Give them a try!
Have you ever had roasted castagne? What other foods are you looking forward to making this winter? Can’t wait to read what you wrote in the comments below!
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