These cold and cozy winter days sometimes requires a good and solid comfort meal. I actually get pretty lazy during the dark afternoons, and I often end up with just grabbing a quick bite for dinner or buy a spicy asian soup from our favourite take-out restaurant. But then the other day I sat down and started picking my brain for ideas on delicious, comforting and yet still very easy and quick winter meals, that provides you with warmth and inner joy!
I have always loved a good risotto, but I sometimes feel a little guilty due to the refined rice and tons of butter and cheese in it. So I have been making ‘risotto’ in new versions, with rye, barley, whole wheat and spelt grains. Then I have learned a little trick that allows you to remove the butter; an egg yolk, excuse me… Oh yes, you heard me, an egg yolk can substitute the dollop of butter that is normally added in the last step of a classic risotto. It gives the risotto the creamy and lovely texture that we love. The parmesan is a keeper, since it not only provides creaminess but also adds a whole lot of taste that we do not wanna miss out on.
I know that risotto and even a speltotto is not a new discovery, but I have given it a little personal twist, that I at least, haven’t had before, and which is perfect for this season and very satisfying to the taste buds….Oven baked chestnuts tossed in herbs and butter!
I always look forward to chestnut season. Chestnut is the favourite nut, okay that’s not fair, ONE of my favorit nuts then. It is such a magic little fellow, that have a nutty, earthy and very delicate taste. It is different from other nuts, since it is low in calories, but still contains good and healthy fats. It is high in dietary fibres, vitamin C, minerals and folic acid.
I have added the chestnuts to this speltotto as a topping, tossed with fresh herbs and butter (you can substitute with oil, I just thought butter was so delicious and perfect combined with chestnuts).
This dish is easy to make, and it is actually good when re-heated the next day, just add some extra fluid when heating it. You can have fresh spinach along, or other vegetables, and if you don’t like chestnuts (sham on you) you can use a classic mushroom topping, or roasted walnuts and even more herbs.
So if you like me feel lazy and in love with your couch, use these humble 45 min to make a batch of this and enjoy it for the next couple of nights and impress every one else with your magic winter energy :)
400 g/1 3/4 Cup speltgrains
1 liter chicken broth
2 glasses of white wine
2 medium sized onions, finely chopped
3-4 cloves of garlic
1 egg yolk
100 g/ 3,5 oz parmesan cheese, grated
Oven baked chestnuts in butter & herbs
500 g chestnuts
2-3 Tbsp butter
10-15 leaves of sage
1/2 bundle parsley
1. Preheat oven to 400°F/200°C.
2. Use a sharp knife to cut a cross in the top of the chestnuts, place them in a baking pan, and roast for approximately 3o min in the oven. Set a side to cool, and use a knife to remove the shell.
3. Chunk up the chestnuts and toss them in melted butter and freshly chopped herbs. Season salt to taste.
4. Chop onions and garlic finely. Heat oil in a pan, and saute the onions for 5 min and add the spelt grain and saute for additional 5 min. In a separate pot keep hot broth.
5. Then add the white wine and let it reduce. Turn down on medium heat. Then add broth until it covers the content of the pot. Keep an eye on the it and stir it occasionally. The approximately every five min add more broth until it slowly soaks the broth, thickens, softens and becomes a perfect, creamy speltotto. It takes around 30-35 min until this stage is reached.
6. Remove pot from the stove and add all of the cheese along with the egg yolk and quickly mix it into the speltotto. Season to taste.
Serve the speltotto right away with some of the chestnut mix on top and you can add a little extra grated parmesan. A glass of wine goes perfectly with this dish, and indulged in front of the fire is even better :)