From my hotel in Brescia there were a dozen eateries within just a few minutes walk. Turning right along the cobbled path from the door of the Albergo Orologio and right next door is a delightful vaulted restaurant who have encased the outside tables in a glass cocoon. I ate here twice during the run-up to the European Wine Bloggers conference; the first meal included a most scrumptious layered pasta dish. A starter I believe but create enough layers and it becomes a main course.
Delicious in its simplicity it was hugely flavoursome. Washed down with a bottle of Barbera de Alba this was, to me, Autumnal Italy personified. The dish was simple – little chunks of boar’s meat and slices of chestnuts interleaving squares of chestnut pasta. A meaty, rich, sauce was drizzled around the pasta. The Italian translation I’m guessing would be something like “Pasta di castagne con ragu di cinghiale e castagno”
I enjoyed it so much I’ve been trying to recreate it since returning to damp, cloudy England. I’m not going to make chestnut pasta, and I’ve yet to discover an online retailer that sells it; so I substituted fresh lasagne egg pasta, cut into squares and boiled as you would with any pasta, until just cooked. In anticipation a little game stock was ‘created’ from left over woodcock bones, laced with red wine and thickened.
Boar’s meat is not that easy to locate either. A trial run of this recipe using meat from the local butchers Boar and Apple sausages was fine, a rather nice combination as it happened, but not really like the original. I brought a selection of game products from The Wild Meat Company last week; my selection included a couple of trays of freshly minced boars meat. No apple or other fillings to sully the flavour!
The recipe is simple – while the pasta is cooking the seasoned meat plus a hearty mix of Italian herbs is fried until cooked. Slide in a few sliced chestnuts to warm though. This mix is spread thinly between leaves of the pasta, the thickened sauce poured over and topped with a little parsley.