Linguine alle castagne
Chestnut flour in antiquity was obtained by grinding dried chestnuts. The product was dried in a chestnut drying hut, (metato, casone, etc.) and equipped with a ceiling (latticework) made of wooden strips, appropriately spaced so as not to let small chestnuts pass. The hut could be purpose-built in the woods or was the farmer’s own kitchen.
The chestnuts harvested were then spread in a layer few dozen centimetres deep on the latticework and under it, on the floor in the middle of the room, a fire was kept lit for over a month, using solid pieces of seasoned chestnut wood. The chestnuts therefore acquired a slightly smoky flavour.
The flour was then tightly pressed into a wooden chest so as to eliminate air and protect against insect infestation. Then it was broken off in pieces with a sort of chisel, chopped and sifted.
Today the finest flour is obtained by stone-grinding chestnuts that have been dried in special drying areas, having discarded their outer casing and any residual membrane. The resulting flour is very fine with an ivory colour.
Chestnut flour is an excellent foodstuff, rich in carbohydrates and mineral salts; gluten-free, it is an excellent substitute for wheat flour for those suffering from celiac disease.
A chemical analysis shows that it is a complete foodstuff, entirely comparable to wheat or corn flour (per 100 g of product):
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