Chestnut pasta with wild mushrooms and Brussels sprouts is a stunner, full of autumn flavors and colors. The chestnut pasta can be made by hand or you can substitute your favorite, fresh store-bought sheets. And trust us, even if you don’t think you like Brussels sprouts, this might be the recipe that changes your mind.
Feel free to use this recipe with any homemade or store-bought pasta if you can’t find the requisite “00” flour at the moment the craving strikes. (Do, though, try the chestnut pasta at some point. It’s life-changing.) Take a rain check on the chestnuts if you can’t find them, omitting them or tossing in a handful of toasted pecans in their place. Author Maria Elia offers some lovely shortcuts and embellishments for this autumnal vegetarian dish that’s eminently easy to assemble ahead of time and toss together at the last second.—Jenny Latreille
Chestnut Pasta, Wild Mushrooms, and Brussels Sprouts FAQs
How can I cook Brussels sprouts for pasta?
Maria Elia suggests just cutting them in half and cooking them. But we love to pluck their curved little leaves, one by one and sauté them in butter just until tender throughout and crisp at the edges. They cook quickly and you may find the sprout-adverse will try them when prepared this way.
What is chestnut pasta?
A traditional Tuscan specialty, chestnut pasta is made from wheat flour that is mixed with chestnut flour, made from ground, dried chestnuts. In this recipe, Elia explains how to make your own from vacuum-packed chestnuts but you can buy the pre-made flour if you can find it. Look for Italian chestnut flour (farina di castagna) which is finely ground and perfect for pasta making.
Can I add different vegetables to my chestnut pasta?
The autumnal feel of this pasta works well with other fall flavors. Consider adding roasted carrots, strips of kale or spinach, winter squash, or even a little sweet potato to lend some vibrancy to the pasta.
Chestnut Pasta, Wild Mushrooms, and Brussels Sprouts
For the pasta
- 8.8 ounces “00” flour plus more for the work surface
- 2 ounces vacuum-packed chestnuts blitzed to a fine powder
- 6 large egg yolks
- 1 large whole egg
- Few drops olive oil
- Semolina (optional)
For the vegetables
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 8 to 9 ounces wild mushrooms trimmed and chopped
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 8 to 9 ounces Brussels sprouts cooked however you please, whether blanched or steamed or roasted or leaves plucked and sautéed (see FAQs)
- 3 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 5 ounces cooked chestnuts quartered
- Sage Brown Butter
- 1 to 2 ounces Parmesan cheese shaved
Make the pasta
- If you are mixing by hand, combine the flour and chestnuts on a work surface. Form them into a mound and make a well in the center. Add the eggs and oil to the well and, using your fingertips, gradually mix in more and more of the flour until most of it is incorporated. On a work surface lightly dusted with flour, knead the pasta for about 10 minutes, or until the dough is firm and elastic, adding more flour if the dough is too sticky. Wrap in plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature for 30 minutes, during which time the dough will soften.
- If you are using a food processor, combine the flour and chestnuts, keep the motor running and slowly add the eggs and oil, mixing until it just comes together. (If you overwork the mixture it will become too warm.) On a work surface lightly dusted with flour, knead the pasta for about 10 minutes, or until the dough is firm and elastic, adding more flour if the dough is too sticky. Wrap in plastic wrap and toss in the fridge for 1 hour or overnight, during which time the dough will become much more flexible.
- Unwrap the dough and return it to a lightly floured surface. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and sprinkle it with semolina or "00" flour. Press the dough gently to flatten. Cut the dough in half and roll each portion through a pasta machine several times, starting at the thickest setting and ending at the thinnest. (If you don’t own a pasta machine, use a rolling pin to roll it as thin as you can.) Using a knife or a pizza wheel, cut each sheet of pasta into 2-inch (5 cm) diamond-shaped rags. Place the pasta rags on the baking sheet sprinkled with semolina and let rest at room temperature for 10 minutes. (At this point you can cover and refrigerate the pasta rags for up to 3 days.)
- Using a knife or a pizza wheel, cut each sheet of pasta into 2-inch (5 cm) diamond-shaped rags. Place the pasta rags on the baking sheet sprinkled with semolina and let rest at room temperature for 10 minutes. (At this point you can cover and refrigerate the pasta rags for up to 3 days.)
Make the vegetables
- Heat the olive oil in a large pan and cook the mushrooms over medium-high heat until they’ve released their liquid and are golden brown at the edges. Most of the liquid should have evaporated by now. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
- If using whole Brussels sprouts, halve or quarter them, depending on their size. Melt the butter in a large pan over medium heat and warm the sprouts and chestnuts until heated through and tender.
Serve the pasta
- Cook the pasta in a large pan of generously salted boiling water until al dente, 1 to 2 minutes. (I always salt the cooking water, rather than the pasta dough.) Toss the mushrooms, Brussels sprouts, and chestnuts with the pasta rags and the sage browned butter, season with salt and pepper, and strew some shaved Parmesan over the top.
If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We’d love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
An easy vegetarian and weeknight recipe, especially if you can use store-bought fresh pasta. I used homemade pasta (tagliatelle) that was previously frozen. For the vegetables, I blanched and drained the Brussels sprouts. Instead of chestnuts I used toasted crushed hazelnuts. After following the directions I tossed everything in Sage Brown Butter.
I’d make this recipe again, but perhaps omit the Sage Brown Butter and instead use dried sage while sautéing the veggies and add fresh sage at the end to make it a more healthy recipe. I enjoyed all the flavors in the recipe—the hazelnuts complement the earthiness of the mushrooms and the bitterness of the Brussels sprouts.
This is a very nice pasta combination. I’d suggest you try to find chestnut pasta rather than make your own. Depending on your preference of pasta versus vegetables, you may only need half the amount of pasta called for. I did make my own, but as nice as it was, it took a lot of time.
The mix of flavors was great, the truffle oil being nice but unnecessary. It’d go great with roasted garlic, as suggested, or if you’re into something a bit more eclectic, some minced black garlic. The sage butter really brings the whole pasta and vegetable assembly together. A great example of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts. The Parmesan, it goes without saying, tops things perfectly.
Originally published November 11, 2012
If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
This recipe is wonderful, and admittedly I’m not a fan of Brussels sprouts. I took my time and set up all of my ingredients ahead of time so that once I started cooking I could go straight through to the end. I used lasagna noodles to make my pasta rags. On reading through the ingredients list I saw that it called for cooked Brussels sprouts, so when preparing everything I took a few minutes and steamed them until just done.
You have to be patient when cooking both the mushrooms and the Brussels sprouts on the stove top so that they begin to caramelize. The dish comes together very easily. I chose to leave the sage leaves in the brown butter when serving and in fact the leaves don’t taste bad when eaten; they’re a little crisp and have a very mild sage flavor along with the nutty flavor of the brown butter.
This is a recipe I intend to add to my collection for those times when I want a wonderful, flavorful, meatless entrée. I think I may just learn to love Brussels sprouts with a recipe like this one and can hardly wait to try it again, making the pasta as well.