SourceItalian Regional Cooking
Prep time1 1⁄2 hours


CastagnaccioCastagnaccio is a traditional Tuscan unleavened bread for travelers and field-workers. It's heavy, flavorful, and nourishing without being too sweet.

Castagnaccio is made with fresh chestnut flour, olive oil, rosemary, and pignoli, and sometimes raisins. I get chestnut flour in Boston's North End at Polcari's Market or at Salumeria Italiana; I am told that it is also available at Whole Foods sometimes. 


8ozChestnut Flour
2 1⁄2TExtra-Virgin Olive Oil
2cWater (cold)
3TSultanas (golden raisins)
3TPine Nuts
1TRosemary (fresh)


  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. Combine chestnut flour, salt, sugar, and oil.
  3. Add water to make a smooth batter.
  4. Coat bottom and sides of an 8-inch or 9-inch round cake pan with oil. The batter should be no more than 3/4" deep.
  5. Pour the batter into the pan. Top with raisins, pignoli, and rosemary.
  6. Bake for an hour, or until the top cracks.
  7. Cool on a rack and serve at room temperature.


Chestnut flour does not keep very well. It should have a natural sweetness. If it is sour, then replace it.
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What a difference expectations make!

I made this for the birthday dinner. The recipe called it a chestnut cake, and we Americans have an idea what "cake" is. But it's a broad term. The castagnaccio is a savory cake, slightly sweet, but no more so than a ripe apricot. It's not a decadent dessert.

But it is a cake of chestnut flour and olive oil baked and perfumed with rosemary, and that "cake" (while as far removed from a Stop & Shop birthday cake as a fine aged Bordeaux is from a restaurant Merlot) is a brilliant combination of evocative flavors and aromas.

Don't make this for a dessert. Make it for a picnic lunch with wine and a savory cheese. You'll discover new worlds of what real food can be!