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Minestra di Riso e Castagne - Rice and Chestnut Soup

This rice and chestnut soup comes from the mountains of northern Italy and has long been a favourite of Sophie?s. This is a quick version, made with pre-cooked, vacuum-packed chestnuts that dispense with the tedium of peeling chestnuts, without sacrificing too much of the flavour. The starchiness of risotto rice makes it a marvellous addition to soups, giving a lovely creaminess that doesn?t interfere with the other ingredients.


  • 340g vacuum packed chestnuts, halved or quartered roughly

  • 1 fresh thyme sprig

  • 1 fresh rosemary sprig

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 1.5 litres chicken or vegetable stock

  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 100g risotto rice

  • 30g butter

  • 300ml creamy milk


  • 1.

    Put the chestnuts in a pan with the herbs tied together with a length of string. Add the stock, salt and pepper and bring to the boil. Leave to simmer gently, uncovered, for 40 minutes.

  • 2.

    Now add the rice and continue simmering for another 10 minutes. Next, add the butter and milk and simmer away until the rice is just cooked but still al dente (another 10 mins or so). Taste and adjust the seasoning and serve.

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