Rice with rocket, watercress and chestnuts served in a bread basket

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It is inspiring to experiment using the seasonal products. The roasted chestnuts are a must in some Sardinia villages, especially during the coldest months of the year. I have to admit it, I adore to prepare and to eat them while sipping a glass of moscato white wine. You should give it a try!


  • a bunch of watercress
  • a bunch of rocket
  • 20 chestnuts
  • ½ onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • whole bread pistoccu
  • a chunk of butter
  • salt to taste
  • a pinch of white pepper
  • 70 gr soft cheese
  • 500 ml vegetable broth

To make the bread basket dip a piece of pistoccu bread in the water until it gets soggy. When it is workable place it in a mould and bake it some minutes to give it again the wanted shape. Drizzle the bread with olive oil before placing the cooked rice.

In a large pan with a good bottom make a sauté with olive oil, unpeeled garlic and chopped onion. Make it golden and add the coarsely shredded rocket and watercress. Bath with two drops of sharp white wine and let it evaporate. Put the rice and make it toast for 5 minutes. Little by little as requested add a ladle of vegetable broth. Separately boil half of the chestnuts. mince them finely and add them to the rice. Keep it cooking with a gentle flame adding from time to time some broth until the rice is al dente. Turn off the burner and add the butter to make it creamy.

Cook the remaining chestnuts with a perforated pan and keep them in a closed bag for 10 minutes. The steam and the heat will help to peel them better. Dice them grossly.


Place the baked bread on a plate and fill it with the rice. The bread will be drizzled with olive oil and gently rubbed with a clove of garlic to give it a faint fragrance. Scatter the dish with the diced chestnuts and drizzle with olive oil. Before serving sprinkle with white pepper and it’s a done deal!

Grandmother’s tip

To cook the chestnuts safely you need to practice a cut on the skin otherwise they will explode It should be done on the top paying attention not to cut the pulp inside. It is like having an empty space between the skin and the pulp. While heating it up on the fire the steam will fill the space making the peeling easier.

My own way

If you don’t have a suitable perforated pan for roasting the chestnuts you can make do with a non-stick pan and a lid. Put the chestnuts in the pan with the lid on with a medium fire. When the skin is darkening switch off the burner and pour them in a paper bag for 10 or 15 minutes.

What is it?

Moscato or muscat in English is part of a family of grapes that include over two hundred grape varieties belonging to the Vitis vinifera species that have been used in wine production and as raisin and table grapes around the globe for many centuries. Their colors ranges from white (such as Muscat Ottonel), to yellow (Moscato Giallo), to pink (Moscato rosa del Trentino) to near black (Muscat Hamburg). Muscat grapes and wines almost always have a pronounced sweet floral aroma. The breadth and number of varieties of Muscat suggest that it is perhaps the oldest domesticated grape variety, and there are theories that most families within the Vitis vinifera grape variety are descended from the Muscat variety.
Pistoccu is a typical bread from Ogliastra area, an historical and geographical region of eastern Sardinia. It mainly comes in a thin and dry layer of bread and you can also enjoy it soaked in water.
Sardinia has many special types of bread, made dry, which keep longer than high-moisture breads.
Also baked are carasau bread, civraxiu and pani pintau an higly decorative bread generally baked for special occasions. All these kinds are made with flour and water only, originally meant for herders, but often served at home with tomatoes, basil, oregano, garlic and a strong cheese.


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