Brussels Sprouts with Chestnuts and Pancetta


I have spent every Thanksgiving in America with the same wonderful family and their extended family in Cape Cod. One of my favorite emails of the year has the subject matter “Gobble Gobble” and is sent to find out who is bringing what. This from a family that my father describes as “having built homes that are essentially kitchens with rooms attached”. Suffice to say, every single dish is always amazing and with over 20 people round the table, plates are piled very high even before we’ve attacked the sea of pies waiting in the wings.


A creature of habit, I tend to make the same dishes every year mainly because I know my godson, Henry, is a fan. No Thanksgiving dinner should be without Brussels sprouts and when you add pancetta, chestnuts and Marsala, even the naysayers, like my godmother, will put a spoonful on their plate. So, Gobble Gobble to you all- wishing you a very happy Thanksgiving!



Brussels Sprouts with Chestnuts and Pancetta

(Adapted from Nigella Lawson)

Serves 8


2lbs of Brussels sprouts (bottoms trimmed and sliced in half)

½ lb of pancetta (cubed)

1 onion (quartered and sliced)

3 tablespoons of olive oil

1 tablespoon of butter

1 jar of precooked chestnuts

¼ cup of Marsala

Bunch of flat leaf parsley (chopped)



1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Spread the Brussels sprouts and onion out on a cookie tray and toss well with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and a good pinch of salt.

3. Roast in the oven for about 20 minutes (turning halfway through) until the sprouts are crunchy and the onions are caramelized and soft.

4. In a large pan, fry the pancetta cubes until brown and crispy in the remaining oil.

5. Add the chestnuts and crush with the back of a wooden spoon.

6. Raise the heat and add the butter. When it starts to sizzle, add the Marsala.

7. Cook for a few minutes until it becomes syrupy, stirring constantly.

8. Add the Brussels sprouts to the pan and mix well.

9. Serve with a sprinkling of chopped parsley on top.


Risotto alla Milanese with Asparagus and Red Wine Sea Salt


When Francis and Vanessa of Gustus Vitae Condiments first sent me samples of their amazing spices and salts, I didn’t know which one I wanted to try first. I decided on the red wine sea salt as it sounded so original as well as ingenious (sea salt and red wine being two of my favorite flavors).


I’ve often had red wine risottos and liked them but found them a little overpowering especially paired with an actual glass of red wine so the idea of being able to sprinkle some over the top of a classic saffron risotto seemed like the perfect solution. I’m going to try Taste of the Southwest on some skirt steak next!



Risotto alla Milanese with Asparagus and Red Wine Sea Salt

Serves 6


1 bunch of fresh asparagus, ends discarded (slice into ½“ diagonal slices and steam or boil for about 3 minutes until tender)

4 cups of homemade chicken broth, or for vegetarians use vegetable broth (heat in a saucepan on low, ladling from there)

1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped

4 tablespoons of butter, divided in two

2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

2 cups of risotto rice (I like to use Carnaroli but Arborio is often easier to find)

1 teaspoon of powdered Saffron

2/3 cup of freshly grated parmesan cheese

Red Wine Sea Salt to taste



1. In a dutch oven or heavy saucepan, add 2 tablespoons of butter, olive oil and onions. Sweat until translucent – about 5 minutes.

2. Add the rice and cook on medium-high for 2 minutes. Stir continuously so the rice is coated with the fat and onions.

3. Lower the heat and slowly begin to add the stock; one ladle at a time.

4. Stir continuously and only add another ladle of stock once last ladle is absorbed.

5. After about 15 minutes, add the saffron and stir until the entire risotto turns a bright yellow. (If you run out of broth, you can add hot water)

6. Turn the heat off just before you think the risotto is ready (about 20 minutes after you’ve added the rice) – rice should still have a slight bite to it.

8. Stir in the asparagus, the rest of the butter and the parmesan cheese and cover for a few minutes to let everything blend together.

9. Serve in warmed bowls and sprinkle a little red wine sea salt and extra grated parmesan on top for a pop of flavor.