LOCATION AND CLIMATE

 

As you might expect, olives grown in cooler areas where there is more moisture (rainfall and dew) exhibit leaner, more restrained characteristics.  This doesn’t however mean that great oil can now be made in Iceland – you need a minimum amount of sunshine to make your Extra Virgin Olive Oil taste remarkable, similarly to tomatoes or stone fruit.

Olive trees are sensitive to winter freeze (the Casaliva cultivar is more resistant to cold, hence being grown in the Garda region).  It is also easier to farm organically where the climate is more stable and less chemical sprays are required to keep the trees healthy.

OLIVE MATURITY

 

Here’s the thing – all olives are green.  When they become fully mature, they turn black.
Olive maturity at the time of harvest is a major factor in flavour and quality: olives harvested earlier (green olives) feature more bitter, grassy characteristics, with lower yields and with the highest anti-oxidant content.  The oil is a much more intense green colour and has a longer shelf-life.  In terms of production, milling can take longer with green olives (a longer malaxation - the action of slowly churning milled olives to release droplets of oil - is needed and can be more complicated) but the results are far superior!  Don’t choose olive oil from over mature fruit: it lacks all the potential goodness and flavour.

ATTENTION TO DETAIL IN GROVE AND MILL

 

People who care passionately about what they make and follow it personally every day have the capacity to create products with far higher quality, with integrity, and that taste of where they come from.  They are also able to do this by caring for the environment they inhabit.

FRANTOIO DI RIVA BOX

This box contains 6 bottles of extra virgin olive oil made exclusively by Frantoio di Riva from groves on the banks of lake Garda.

Frantoio di Riva, 46°PARALLELO green label x 3 bottles (50cl)
Frantoio di Riva, 46°PARALLELO organic white label x 1 bottle (50cl)
Frantoio di Riva, 46°PARALLELO blue label x 1 bottle (50cl)
Frantoio di Riva, ULIVA Garda Trentino DOP x 1 bottle (50cl)

Chestnut pasta with mushroom and chesnuts

Chestnuts are a quintessential autumn ingredient yet very few people dare to cook with them.  Not the case over here in Italy where they are integrated in to a variety of different dishes at this time of the year.

 

This dish is soulful and exactly what we need as we’re heading in to the colder weeks of the year. Serves 4.

INGREDIENTS
FOR THE PASTA

150g chestnut flour
300g organic plain flour (type 00)
5 large eggs

FOR THE SUGO

2 shallots, finely sliced
1  clove of garlic
75ml extra virgin olive oil
200g cooked chestnuts (vacuum packed works well), sliced
300g chestnut mushrooms (or similar small mushrooms), sliced
50ml fresh cream
A handful of flat leaf parsley
A handful of sage leaves (around 20 leaves)
Grated parmesan

METHOD

If you are making the pasta yourself then mix the two flours with the eggs to make a soft dough and then kneed for around 10 minutes.  This is quite therapeutic! Roll out on a floured surface to about 2mm thick and then let it rest for about 10 minutes.  Cut roughly in to  asymmetrical shapes, each one of a few cms wide and around 10cm long.

 

Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil.

 

Gently fry the sliced shallots and a clove of garlic until fragrant and add the chestnuts with an additional glug of olive oil. Keep turning in the pan for around 5 minutes until they are starting to crisp at the edges.  Add the sage leaves and turn in the pan for a further 2 minutes.  Then add the mushrooms and perhaps keep the heat a little higher at this point to allow them to take on some decent colour.  After 2 minutes have passed, drop the pasta in to the boiling salted water – it will only need 2-3 minutes if you want to keep it al dente.

 

As a final touch to your sugo, add a little cream and some pasta water along with the parsley and grated parmesan.  Shake the pan to bring it all together.

 

Drain the pasta and stir through the sauce. Serve with a generous pour of Lea from Frantoio Gregori.