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Ann Creber's - Risotto with Mushrooms & Roasted Chestnuts


by Ann Creber

Hello Friends,

What a gorgeous time of year it is in our Dandenong Ranges! We owe a debt of gratitude to those earlier settlers who planted the deciduous trees which now offer the glory we enjoy every Autumn.

They provide not just beauty, but food as well, as the many wayside chestnut stalls remind us. Our Annual Chestnut Festival that was held in Kalorama Memorial Park on the 1st May this year always provides an opportunity to taste, buy and find ideas for using them in many dishes. I worked as Food Consultant for the Chestnut Growers for a number of years and was amazed to learn how versatile they are as an ingredient. (They also freeze well in the shell!)

I love risotto and this recipe takes advantage of chestnuts and the mushrooms that are so readily available now.


3 - 4 serves

  • 3 TB light olive oil or butter
  • 1 large white onion, finely chopped
  • 250 g mushrooms, sliced (I use a mixture of Swiss Browns and exotic
  • 275 g Arborio rice
  • 600ml boiling chicken or vegetable stock (or a little more)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 bay leaf, torn
  • Pepper & salt to taste
  • 5 TB chopped peeled and roasted chestnuts
  • 2 TB finely chopped Italian parsley
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Shaved or grated Parmesan cheese


  1. Heat oil or butter, saute onions and mushrooms until soft and golden.
  2. Add rice, stir gently until grains are opaque.
  3. Pour in the hot stock in small quantities, adding more as it is absorbed, and stirring often.
  4. Add herbs, pepper and salt to taste. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat.
  5. Cover saucepan and cook for about 20 minutes, stirring only occasionally to ensure it is not sticking to the base of the saucepan. (Add a little more stock or water, if necessary).
  6. Stir in the chopped roasted chestnuts, parsley and 1 tablespoon of oil.
  7. Serve on warmed plates, topped with grated or shaved Parmesan cheese.

NOTE This is quite a versatile recipe. To add a little more colour, I sometimes dice and saute half a red capsicum with the other vegetables. A little dry white wine can be added to the liquid for flavour and diced roast or BBQ chicken or diced ham can be added towards the end of cooking time. If chestnuts are not in season, some browned pine nuts may be substituted.

Ann Creber
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