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When chestnuts come into season, this is always the first thing I make with them. They have a starchy sweet taste that goes really well with pancetta and rosemary (always use fresh rosemary!).

Serves 4 as a starter

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp chopped red onion
  • 1 tbsp chopped celery
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 75g pancetta cubes
  • 1 tsp chopped rosemary, plus extra to garnish
  • 200g Carnaroli risotto rice
  • 1 litre hot, fresh chicken stock (for home-made, see recipe page xx)
  • 100g vacuum-packed peeled cooked chestnuts, finely chopped
  • 2 shots of brandy
  • 75g unsalted butter
  • 100g Parmesan cheese, freshly gratefreshly ground black pepper

Method:

1. In a large heavy-based saucepan soften the onion and celery in the olive oil with the pancetta and rosemary over a low heat. Add the rice and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes until translucent.

2. Turn up the heat and start adding the hot stock, little by little, stirring continuously and letting each addition be absorbed before adding more. After about 15 minutes, add the chestnuts and brandy, then continue adding the stock and cooking for 5 minutes. When cooked the rice should still have a bite but no crunch.

3. Add the butter and Parmesan and season with black pepper, then stir until the risotto is creamy. Serve hot, garnished with a few picked rosemary tips.