Oven-Roasted Chestnuts with Onion and Bacon
5-6 bacon slices, cut into 1/ 2- inch wide crosswise strips
2 tablespoons butter
1 pound small onions, preferably cippolini (a flat Italian onion, available at many local markets) or pearl onions, blanched and peeled
1 pound fresh chestnuts, roasted and peeled (see note below)
— Kosher salt Black pepper in a mill
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Fry the bacon in a heavy cast iron skillet until it is almost but not quite crisp.
Add the butter and, when it is melted, add the onions and chestnuts, turning them in the fat until they are evenly coated. Season with salt and pepper.
Transfer to the oven and cook, stirring now and then, until the onions and chestnuts are completely tender, about 30 minutes.
Remove from the oven, transfer to a serving dish, sprinkle with parsley and serve as a side dish.
Alternately, use one of the suggestions below.
■ Before cooking, cut the onions and the chestnuts into quarters. Cook as instructed above, and when they are just tender, transfer the pan to the stove top. Add 4 cups Brussels sprouts leaves, toss and cook until the sprouts wilt. Correct the seasoning and serve right away.
■ While the vegetables cook, prepare a pound of pasta, such as orrechetti.
Drain it, but do not rinse it. Tip it into a warmed wide shallow bowl, add the vegetables, toss, sprinkle with Italian parsley and enjoy right away.
How to roast chestnuts:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Wipe each chestnut with a damp tea towel.
Set the cleaned chestnuts on your work surface and use a sharp knife to make an X on each one, cutting just through the skin.
Set the chestnuts, scored side up, on a baking sheet and sprinkle or spritz them generously with water. Set on the middle rack of the oven and roast until the chestnuts can be easily pierced with a bamboo skewer or toothpick, about 15 to 20 minutes. The skins will curl back when they are done.
Let the chestnuts cool until they are easy to handle and then use your fingers to pull off the skins.