Chestnut Risotto – celebrate Christmas in Italy with Expedia

  • Servings : 4-5
  • Prep Time : 15m
  • Cook Time : 55m
  • Ready In : 60m

I love traveling and eating, can’t say which I like more than the other 🙂

I always maintain that travelling is incomplete without sampling the local cuisine. You truly understand the country and the people when you eat the local food. Then you come back home and experiment- recreate those delicious meals and relive those exquisite moments. That is how a trip is truly complete.

Italy has to one of my favourite destination, especially for the food. Who wouldn’t like to eat the mind boggling range of cheeses, pizzas, pastas and risottos.

I had a lovely time when I went to Rome, two years ago, just before Christmas. It was beautiful. The food was gorgeous. The churches were splendid.  I even got to go to Vatican City. Lucky me.

Saw all of Michelangelo’s sculptures. Life’s mission accomplished.

Since I’m back , I’ve kept experimenting more and more with Italian cuisine.

So when Expedia invited me to join in their Christmas World on a Plate challenge, I was delighted.

I decided to make this Chestnut Risotto which combines the Christmas spirit with the Italian Risotto.


Here’s how you make it!


  • Arborio Risotto Rice- 200 gm
  • Onion, 1/2, diced
  • Celery stick, half, chopped
  • Pancetta ( Bacon )- 75 gm, chopped
  • Rosemary, fresh - 1 sprig
  • Chicken stock- 800 ml
  • Chestnuts, cooked, peeled and finely chopped
  • Brandy- 50 ml (optional)
  • Parmesan- 100 gm
  • Unsalted butter- 75 gm
  • Olive oil- 1 tbsp
  • Black pepper, freshly ground- to taste
  • Salt- to taste

How to roast Chestnuts

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You start off by roasting chestnuts. Of course, you could always use tinned ones- but there something else about the smoky flavour that emanates when you roast them at home. It’s easy. All you need to do is get a sharp knife and score a cross on each of them. That prevents them from exploding in the oven. Then pop them onto a roasting tray, sprinkle some water and roast at 200C for 15 minutes.

They come out looking something like this.

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The skins peel off when you’ve made the cut. Chestnuts are easy to peel whilst warm. So grab a couple of kitchen towels and rub them. The skin starts peeling off. Likeso.

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Then just peel, nibble some, chop the rest and you’re good to go!

Now, onto the actual risotto..

Making the Risotto

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Step 1

Start off by bringing the stock to a simmer in a large saucepan. I just added a stock cube to make it easy.

Step 2

In another pan, heat the olive oil and add in the rosemary. Let fry for 1 minute. This will flavour the oil and everything that you add into the pan straightaway. Add in the pancetta. Fry for another minute in hot oil. Then add in the onion. Let fry for 2-3 minutes till it softens.

Step 3

Add in the risotto rice and fry for 5 minutes.

Step 4

Now you need to add in the stock- slowly, though- ladle by ladle. No rushing at all. Making is risotto is a little different from making your usual rice. Add in a ladle, stir, wait for each ladle to be absorbed- then add in the next.

Step 5

Keep stirring. Stir until the rice is aldente and most of the liquid has been absorbed. The entire process should take about 15 minutes.

Step 6

When all the stock has been added, add the chestnuts with the brandy and stir through. I omitted the brandy - you can choose to do what you like!

Step 7

Cook for another 2 minutes to cook off the brandy . Beat in the butter, Parmesan and ground black pepper,

Step 8

Serve piping hot, garnished with some more Parmesan.

Chestnut Risotto

NOTE: For a completely vegetarian experience, just omit the bacon and use chicken stock instead.

* Thanks to Expedia for collaborating with Of Cloves and Capers for their #expediaworldonaplate challenge.
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