Health Benefits of Chestnuts: I was inspired to create this dish by the 100-year-old chestnut tree growing in my in-laws’ garden on Ikaria and by memories of hauling back bags of chestnuts front he island every fll, then arduously boiling, slitting, shelling and roasting them all winter long. While nuts are an important food in the longevity diet in Ikaria and throughout the other Blue Zones, chestnuts have an even more special place. They are unique because unlike most other nuts, chestnuts are rich in vitamin C. Half a cup of raw chestnuts gives you 35 to 45 percent of your daily intake of vitamin C. They’re also packed with antioxidants and minerals like potassium and magnesium, and a diet rich in plants and brimming with antioxidants and minerals is among the longevity secrets of Ikarians and others in the Blue Zones.
15 min
35 min


    • Ingredients
    • 3 cups cooked and shelled chestnuts preferably in a vacuum pack (sous vide)
    • 2 Tbsp extra virgin Greek olive oil plus more for tossing with pasta
    • 2 red onions coarsely chopped
    • 3 garlic cloves chopped or 2 tsp ready-chopped Greek garlic
    • 1 pound ½ kilo fresh button mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
    • ½ cup dry red wine
    • Greek sea salt and pepper to taste
    • 3 cups fresh cherry or teardrop tomatoes halved
    • 1 Tbsp dried Greek oregano or thyme
    • 1 pound ½ kilo whole wheat linguine, spaghetti or bowties
    • Grated cashew-milk cheddar optional


    1. Poach the vacuum pack bags for 3 to 5 minutes, or as per package instructions, remove, cool slightly, and open the packets to remove the chestnuts.
    2. Heat a deep, medium-size skillet over medium flame. Add the olive oil and then add the chopped onion. Cook, stirring, for about 7 minutes, until the onions soften and start to brown a little. Stir in the garlic and add the chestnuts.
    3. Add the mushrooms, and toss gently with the mixture. Cook, covered, for about 7 minutes, or until the mushrooms are soft and wilted. Add the red wine, raise heat for a minute and simmer. Season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat, cover and cook slowly, replenishing the liquid if needed with a little water, for about 10 minutes. Gently stir in the tomatoes and then the oregano or thyme and cook all together for 5 to 8 more minutes, or until everything is tender.
    4. While the sauce mixture is simmering, bring a pot of water to a rolling boil and add 2 tablespoons of sea salt. Boil the pasta according to package directions. Drain and save a half cup of the cooking liquid. Add this to the simmering sauce mixture. Stir and remove from heat.
    5. Toss the pasta with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and serve with the sauce mixture on top, garnished with some grated cashew-milk cheddar, if desired.

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