Minestra Di Castagna
This recipe is adapted from one by the great Italian chef, Mario Batali. It makes a wonderful, hearty side dish with meat or poultry, or a great vegetarian main course. This is one of those wonderful dishes that you can use your imagination on. Add a small amount of chopped bacon or some sautéed mushrooms. Try it with leeks and finely diced carrot, or add chopped florets of broccoli and cauliflower.
Ready to eat chestnuts may be substituted to save time, without compromising the flavor.
Preheat oven to 400 F.
Roast the scored chestnuts for about 30 minutes, testing one to be sure it's tender and the flesh has become a pale, translucent yellow. Remove from the oven and peel the outer hull and the light brown inner pellicle.
Chop coarsely and place in a six-quart saucepan. Add the milk and the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for about one hour, taking care not to boil.
Uncover, add the rice, and cook for about 20-30 minutes, or until the rice is tender.
Season with salt, stir in the butter and chives. Serve piping hot.