Roast Chestnuts and Sausage for A November Pasta Dish

Penne Roasted Chestnuts and Sausage (CAWCOM) (3) Suddenly it became quite cool as November arrived. There’s a feeling that we need to change. We pull out sweaters and we clean out the frig of its summer foods, for instance, the leftover grilled sausage from our last grill party. This preparation is strictly a leftover meal for a cool November day using previously grilled or roasted sausages. Although you could use fresh sausages and canned chestnuts the dish will not be the same because canned chestnuts are too sweet, changing the nature of this dish entirely. The leftover aroma of the grill and the roasted chestnuts is what makes this recipe so robust. It is substantial enough that I would not serve anything but a simple green vegetable along with it. To roast chestnuts, carefully (so you don’t cut yourself) make an “X” on their convex side with a small paring knife and place in a roasting pan in a 400 degree F oven for 40 minutes. Remove from the oven, let cool, then remove the shell.
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 ounces pancetta (about 5 slices), ripped into pieces
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 pound leftover grilled or roasted mild Italian sausage, about 2 links, sliced (see Note below)
20 roasted chestnuts, chopped (see Note above)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 pound penne
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Chile oil to taste (optional)
1. In a skillet large enough to hold all the pasta, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat, then cook the pancetta until it sizzles, about 1 minute. Add the parsley and garlic, and cook 30 seconds while stirring constantly. Add the sausage and chestnuts and cook until heated through, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Pour in the white wine and cook until the wine is evaporated, about 5 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil, salt abundantly then cook the pasta, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is al dente. Drain without rinsing.
3. Transfer the pasta to the skillet and mix well with the sauce. Add the cheese and toss. Serve immediately with chile oil if desired.

Note: If using fresh sausages, remove the meat from the casing and cook in a skillet over medium heat until they lose their pinkness, adding small amounts of water so they don’t stick, about 15 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon.
Yield: Makes 4 servings
Preparation Time: 45 minutes

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