Thanksgiving pasta

Chestnuts boiling

Thanksgiving pasta!

I cleaned out my fridge last weekend!  I know, I know…about time, right?!  I should take a picture cause it won’t be this organized and clean for long!  Anyway, as I was digging out the last of the items shoved to the back of my bottom shelf, I was pleasantly surprised (why?  I don’t know–I bought them back in November) to find my missing tub of chestnuts.   When I bought them I had plans to use them in a stuffing or something similar at Thanksgiving for my hubby–he absolutely loves chestnuts (and water chestnuts?!).  As you already know, I had surgery in November and we didn’t end up doing our big thanksgiving feast as planned, so in the fridge the chestnuts sat…and quickly got lost (buried is probably a closer description)!   Once we were reunited, I had to quickly find/create a great way to use these woody, sweet nuggets!  I decided a pasta would be the easiest and most efficient use since I have the fixins for most any type of pasta dish here at the house.  I found a pretty interesting recipe using pancetta with the chestnuts in a simple oil sauce and that was all I needed to get started!  Well, that is not true, I had to figure out how to process (skin and soften) the chestnuts first.  There were several different methods reviewed online, but I decided just to boil them to keep them soft and retain the sweetness.  It worked!  After about 15 minutes in boiling water they were pretty easy to peel, moist, and very sweet!  I have a really nice sage plant (big beautiful purple flowers right now–love it!) on my deck which provided many of its feathery leaves to season the pasta, along with loads of garlic and onion.  This pasta seriously rocked.  Andy said it tasted just like the best thanksgiving stuffing he has ever had–hence the name!  This is a pretty hearty dish, so we are leaving it off of regular rotation here at the casa, but it will probably replace stuffing next year on the big day and fill our bellies on many a cold, winter’s night.   Bon Appetit my friends!

Thanksgiving pasta

Servings:  5-6

  • 1 box gluten free spaghetti noodles
  • 1 T EVOO
  • 1-2 t chipotle pepper flakes
  • 4 large slices of bacon, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 small sweet onion, chopped
  • 3 T chopped garlic
  • 4 T fresh sage, chopped
  • loads of freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 T butter
  • 1 c chopped boiled chestnuts
  • 1 c chardonnay
  • 1/2 c pasta water (reserve after boiling pasta)
  • 1 c freshly grated Parmesan or uncheese, cheese sauce

Bring a big pot of water to a boil, add the pasta and cook until al dente–usually 11 or so minutes.  Save 1/2 c of the liquid, drain the rest of the water and set the pasta  aside.

While the pasta is cooking, heat EVOO in a large skillet with the chipotle pepper flakes.  Add the chopped bacon and cook for about 10 minutes, until the bacon is nice and crispy.  When the bacon is starting to brown add 2 T of the sage.  Add the onion and cook for about 5 minutes, add the butter, garlic, and black pepper and cook for another 5 minutes.  Add the chardonnay and mix in well–scraping the carmelized bits of onion and bacon from the bottom and sides of the pan–cook for about 5 minutes.  Add the Parmesan and mix it in well.  The sauce should be getting nice and creamy now.  Slowly add the pasta water to get it to a consistency that will coat the pasta nicely without being too heavy.  You may not use the whole 1/2 c.

Add a big scoop of pasta into the sauce and stir so the noodles are coated nicely.  Continue until you are happy with how the pasta is coated and you still have a little sauce left in the pan for dipping your bread.  You probably will  not use all of the cooked noodles, so stick them in the fridge for a snack later in the week (add a drizzle of EVOO, a sprinkle of parm, freshly ground pepper, and chipotle pepper flakes and heat in microwave–YUM!).  Serve with a generous sprinkle of chopped sage and fresh bread!

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