Chestnuts Ury

Serves: 2
Cost: ~€1.80
Preparation and cooking time: ~25 minutes
Calories: ~175 per serving

Greetings folks! My little two year anniversary post  will be coming up on the 2nd of November, a day late alas, but you get to see then whose list of ingredients was picked. I can’t wait for that post. I think it’s a lot of fun, getting a list of random ingredients from people and figuring something out myself with it. I think it can also make for a very frugal style of home cooking – grabbing random things from the cupboards and each time trying to come up with something exciting and different, instead of buying specific ingredients for every meal.

Before I move on, in case you didn’t so far, and if you want to (it’s gonna be fun!), do sign up for the Secret Santa gift exchange! Full details can be found on the dedicated page I’ve set up here.

We’ve recently had my wife’s parents visiting which was lovely. It’s always wonderful to spend time with family – this time they had the added bonus of being able to say hello to our new little family member, and my wife and I got a chance to go out for dinner (oh my God, a whole dinner of hot food without any interruption? Any parents can no doubt relate to just how special that was!) while the grandparents babysat at home. We had a wonderful, quiet meal; we sat by the lake and drank a cup of coffee; we talked, and then we came back home to little William sleeping soundly in his grandmother’s arms.

Down by the lake

I had hoped to make this dish when my parents-in-law were here but sadly didn’t get a chance. Well, at least it means there’s all the more for me! It’s the perfect autumnal dish. The chestnuts were given to me by my neighbour who went out gathering them in a nearby forest which brings down the cost a lot. If you don’t have chestnut trees nearby then you can of course buy them. I’m normally not a huge fan of them myself but in this dish they really work well. The recipe was originally from an old vegetarian cookbook of my mother’s which is no longer in print. I’ve personally never seen a dish like it before and wasn’t really quite sure about the meaning of the word “Ury”, but apparently it’s a town in France so I can only assume it’s named after that.

Chestnuts Ury

Originally it was served with spaghetti, but for the first time ever I actually found a spaghetti squash in the store here (yay!) so I’m using that today. I hope you like it – let me know if you give it a try! Have a good week and see you back in a few days :).

Chestnuts Ury


Chestnuts Ury ingredients

  • ~150g Chestnuts (including shell) or ~100g prepared, shelled chestnuts
  • ~400g Tinned tomatoes
  • 1 large Onion
  • 2 large cloves of Garlic
  • 1tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1tsp dried Thyme
  • 1tsp dried Oregano
  • Spaghetti (or spaghetti squash) for serving


  1. If you’re going to use pasta and ready-prepared chestnuts then skip to step three. If you’re using spaghetti squash, start off by preheating your oven to 190 degrees Celsius. Fork the squash all over to prevent bursting during cooking and then place the squash into the oven, in a shallow roasting tray, for one hour.
    Roasting the squash
  2. Meanwhile, make an “X” in the tops of the chestnuts and bring to the boil in a large pan of water. Allow to boil for 10 minutes before setting aside and allowing to cool before carefully pulling away the shell and any remaining outer husk.
    Cooking the chestnuts
  3. Chop the onion and garlic roughly and fry lightly in the olive oil for a few minutes before adding in the tomatoes, thyme and oregano and prepared chestnuts. Stir well to mix until the chestnuts have heated through.
    Chopping the onion and garlic
  4. If using spaghetti squash then cut the cooked squash in half and scoop out the seeds from the centre. Scrape the insides of the squash with a fork to create spaghetti-like strands. Serve the chestnut sauce on top of prepared spaghetti or the squash and enjoy!
    Chestnuts Ury


  1. says

    How interesting, I really live chestnuts and have never heard of such a recipe. I even have dried chestnuts I bought from an Italian grocer in Chelsea, NYC!
    We’re in the midst of a blackout right now because if hurricane Sandy, a little creepy that’s for sure! And darned chilly. I’m guessing the heat hasn’t been on since at least 4am! Brrrrrrrr.

    • says

      Hi Eva – I hope you’re keeping well and that the power will be restored soon. Keep warm my friend :) Do you have a fireplace in your house? Perfect time to light that baby up I think, if so! :)

      I hope you get a chance to try this – it’s wonderful with spaghetti, but works very well with squash too. Don’t forget the herbs – they really make it in this! :)

  2. says

    This sounds very intriguing and I really think I will try it. I too recently discovered spaghetti squash here in the supermarkets in France – I had been curious about it for a while and it is amazing! My new favourite ingredient :) So it’s lovely to see you using it too in new ways.

    • says

      Hi Anneli – isn’t it incredible? When I cut it open I couldn’t believe my eyes… I’d never seen anything like it. Hundreds of tightly packed strands of squash – SO cool. I wonder what it looks like inside raw actually.

      • says

        Funnily enough I was given one a couple of years ago but at that time, I had no idea of it’s amazing spaghetti properties. So I chopped it up and made soup out of it!!! It was VERY hard to cut up and made a soup that was a little lacking in flavour really compared to using other squash. Actually, I don’t think it has bags of flavour even when used properly…it demands a robust sauce I think. But none the less, the fun factor is high and of course it’s so healthy and low in fat. :)

        • says

          Ha, I was the other way… I didn’t know there was a specific squash called spaghetti squash at first, so I just grabbed a butternut and tried to fork that into spaghetti, once I’d roasted it up. Yeeeeah, that didn’t turn out so well, lol 😀

          It’s true – it doesn’t have a very strong flavour, but then spaghetti on its own isn’t the most awesome of ingredients. A lovely tomato sauce or something similar really makes it.

  3. says

    Ury? Swedish word?
    I love chestnuts. It sounds really delicious with the squash. I don’t believe I’ve ever seen a spaghetti squash before.
    It’s great that you’ve managed to have some time to yourselves.

    • says

      Hi Ping, it’s not a Swedish word no – as I mentioned in the post, it’s a town in the Ile-de-France, just outside Paris, so I can only assume it’s maybe from there?

  4. says

    Charles, I’m glad you have had a wonderful time with your family. The dish does look very unusual. I have never seen anything similar before. Old cookery books contain rare jewels sometimes.
    It looks so appetising and intriguing, I cannot believe there is a squash in it! (I am not a big fun of squashes and pumpkins). At first I was sure there was some bacon 😉 (the carnivore in me…). I must also say I have never tasted neither the spaghetti squash nor cooked with chestnuts! I wish I had bought chestnuts today (I have seen them though…). You have made me want to cook with them tonight.

    • says

      Thank you Sissi – indeed they do. It’s very interesting looking at older cookery books – especially books for (what was) non-standard cuisine. “Chinese” cookery books from the 80s seem to consist of terribly bland looking stir-fries with egg noodles, likewise vegetarian cookery books seem to be filled with “100 ways of serving roasted vegetables”. How cuisine has changed! Now you mention it, I think bacon would go really well in this dish actually. If you have a chance to try it, let me know how it turns out :)

  5. says

    Oh, I would have forgotten to say: there is a Swiss canton called “Uri” (although written with “i” not “y”). I don’t think there is a link with chestnuts though… The name is as intriguing as the dish itself!

    • says

      Thanks Sissi – it’s really a mystery to be honest. My mother assures me it’s written with a “y”, so I have no idea what it’s referencing, and I guess the original author has long since passed away maybe.

  6. says

    This dish has a pretty unique combination of ingredients, Charles. I have to give you props for the fact that you came up with a tasty sounding vegetarian dish. It even LOOKS good. :)

    • says

      lol, there’s plenty of tasty vegetarian stuff A_ – one doesn’t need to eat dead stuff for every meal in order to enjoy one’s food 😀

      • says

        I know … but I haven’t managed to MAKE too many vegetarian dishes myself that really impress me taste-wise. A couple of Indian dishes make the grade but that’s about it.

        Right now I’m trying to come up with some good dishes featuring regular or Israeli couscous. I’ve searched the net without any success. There are many recipes but none of them appeal to me.

        • says

          Ah, Indian stuff is where it’s at for vegetarian awesomeness in my opinion. For the Israeli couscous – you could always add a ton of yummy lemon juice, chopped flat-leaf parsley, spring onions, red pepper and crumbled feta cheese. Not really “Autumn” food, but very nice!

  7. says

    lots of low-carb ideas these days charles! saving space for christmas already? 😉 must say that dish looks delicious! really more-ish and winter-warming!

    p.s. I have just signed up for the secret santa! yay! so excited!

    • says

      Hehe, thanks Shuhan – well, I’m trying to eat a bit more healthily right now. Can you believe, I lost 12 kilos last year, then I went to Sweden and broke all my healthy eating resolve and ended up “finding” the whole lot again. Now I’m trying to get it down and keep it off once again!

      Thanks for signing up for the secret santa – it’s gonna be great! :)

  8. says

    Charles said: “For the Israeli couscous – you could always add a ton of yummy lemon juice, chopped flat-leaf parsley, spring onions, red pepper and crumbled feta cheese.”

    I’ll have to wait til the weekend to get the parsley and red pepper when I get taken for my weekly shopping expedition. (I think I have some feta in my freezer.) Would you just serve it as a side dish with some sort of roast meat?

    • says

      Oh, forgot to mention – don’t forget chopped onion, although actually I said spring onion already (just swap it if you can’t get spring onions). It depends really how “carnivorous” you’re feeling on that particular day to be honest. Personally I’d enjoy it on its own, but if you wanted meat it would go really well with grilled lamb, or maybe some sausage, something spicy like merguez if you can get it.

      Tomato goes well in the dish too – anything “salad-like” really… cucumber, even some arugula or something like this.

  9. says

    Raw tomato and cucumber … not things I eat but I’ll see what I can do about the rest of the dish. I’m also looking into a soup with the couscous in place of rice or noodles. With lemon juice/zest and shredded chicken or turkey. A take off on an avgolemono soup.

    • says

      Avgolemono… now that’s something I’ve never heard of. Sounds like a lovely soup though… lemon juice and zest… mmm. Seems like the sort of thing which would be lovely cold, or maybe I’m just weird. I’ll look it up!

  10. says

    This looks delicious, Charles. I love chestnuts. Mostly we roast them and put them in stuffing/dressing (whatever you call that stuff you put into the cavities of birds.

    • says

      Thank you Sharyn – I love chestnut stuffing. Do people do the same over there as they do in England? … Make balls out of stuffing and deep fry it and serve it with the bird (as in: never actually stuffing it in at all).

      • says

        I have never heard of deep fried balls of stuffing, but I’m sure someone does it. Some people bake stuffing outside of their birds, but if you do that you don’t get the flavor of the meat in the stuffing. We always stuff our stuffing into bird cavities.

  11. says

    How lovely to be able to go out for dinner knowing Wee William was being well cared for and you could just relax and have that very necessary and hard to get, uninterrupted time. I haven’t had a pasta with chestnuts in it before. This looks very interesting and I’m looking forward to trying it – like you say, perfect fall flavours here xx

    • says

      Hi Charlie – we used to go out to a lot of restaurants, but rarely has a restaurant meal been so appreciated! Just this evening I was commenting to my wife that one day… in the long, distant future, we might even be able to make it through an entire movie or TV episode without having to pause it every 5 minutes too, hehe 😀

    • says

      I never saw another dish like this before – and it’s really tasty too. My mother likes to add a bit of ginger to the sauce – she says it complements the chestnuts really well!

  12. says

    I’ve never made anything with chestnuts so this is intriguing. Spaghetti squash is a great option when cutting back on the carbs, so I’d love to dig into this dish…or “tuck in” as you Brits like to say. Fingers are crossed here that this storm blows over before Halloween tomorrow. Have a good one!

    • says

      Hi Barb – I hope you get a chance to try this – my mother likes to add some ginger to the sauce – she says it goes excellently with the chestnut flavour!

      I gotta say, I was astounded at the spaghetti squash. I’ve never seen anything like it, and I wasn’t expecting anything so… so… spaghetti like! 😀

  13. says

    What an interesting way to cook spaghetti squash. I’m going to have to try this. This one is right up our alley. We love spaghetti squash and the addition of chestnut sauce sounds delicious. I bet this would be great with some shrimp or Italian sausage too. Mmmm! Now I’m hungry. I’m so glad you had a great visit with your in-laws and that you got to enjoy a night out as a couple. Those nights are so important. I always feel so refreshed after a night or day with just Mike. :) I hope you guys have a great weekend too! Can’t wait for your anniversary post. The anticipation is killing me. (Not really killing me I guess…but I am very excited!)

    • says

      Hi Kristy – I was SO pleased to find spaghetti squash here and cooking it for the first time was a joy. I’d never seen anything like it and was amazed out just how… spaghetti-like it was, lol 😀

      You should check out my most recent post for a nice surprise 😉

  14. says

    So glad you were able to go out and have a proper meal! I remember too well all the times I had to eat cold food. Grandparents are life savers :)
    This is a very interesting dish. I love chestnuts but never considered cooking them like this. I shall have to give it a go.

    Hope William is doing well.


    • says

      Hi Nazneen – life-saver grandparents, oh yeah, couldn’t agree more. Total bummer both sets of them live in entirely different countries :(

      Hope you have a chance to give this a go – it’s definitely worth it!

  15. says

    Charles, I’m really enjoying your fall vegetable series… and especially the idea of substituting these nutrient dense options in place of traditional white potato/pasta/rice. That’s my kind of eats ;-).

    Is the spaghetti squash, once cooked, fairly easy to deal with in terms of creating the spaghetti strands with the fork? Love the inclusion of chestnut here… oh bliss. Did you add sausage to this dish or is it the chestnut that looks sausagy? If I were eating it as a meal, I’d probably toss in some sort of protein. I have a vision of kidney beans here… Looks great Charles and I’m happy to hear that you had a good visit with your in-laws. Fun to get a night out too! Yay :).

    • says

      Hi Kelly, you know, I have kinda fallen into a fall vegetables series, and I didn’t even do it on purpose, hehe 😀

      You HAVE to give spaghetti squash a try! It’s incredible! When it’s finished roasting (baking?) in the oven, just cut it open and scoop out the seeds. You’ll see the flesh is already in strands, tightly packed together. Inserting a fork next to the skin and pulling away will separate it all out and you can just go round and push it onto a plate. Takes like 20 seconds per half. So easy, and incredibly fun!

      It’s the chestnut in the dish which looks meaty I guess – this dish is all veggie :)

  16. says

    It is so nice that you got to have a quiet dinner for just the two of you. This recipe sounds like such an unusual combination of of flavors. For some reason I can’t picture chestnuts and tomatoes together. You always come up with new ideas but in this case I guess I should say someone’s old idea.

    • says

      Hi Karen – I’ve certainly never seen a dish like this before, but it works really well! I do hope you have a chance to give it a try some day!

  17. says

    Now this is definitely the most unique pasta dish I’ve seen in a long time. I roasted chestnuts for the first time last year, but it looks like it’s time to do it again. This looks delicious and I’m very curious as to how it tastes. thanks for the recipe! Aren’t grandparents wonderful? So glad you had a great visit.

    • says

      Hi MJ – normally I’m not a big chestnut fan… bad childhood memories involving me being very ill, but I *love* them in this – really recommend it! Parents-in-law gone back home now… so sad to see them go :(

  18. says

    I’ve been eating chestnuts (you are not a big fan?) and just grabbed new batch the other day too. How interesting! I’ve never made any chestnut dish out of Japanese cuisine so it was fun learning how other people eat them! Thanks for sharing the recipe with us!

    • says

      Hi Nami – do they sell “marrons glacé” where you live? Not sure what the best translation is in English, but it’s like candied chestnuts. They’re really popular in France at Christmas time and they sell them in big boxes like chocolates. If you like, and if you like chestnuts that much, I can send you some?!

      • says

        Hi Charles! Yes, I know Marron Glace! It’s actually very popular in Japan and there are a lot of recipes for it. In fact, before I see your response, I was checking on the recipes with my husband which one looks tasty. What a coincidence! I don’t think it’s popular in the US (I may be wrong and not looking at the right store to buy this kind of thing but it’s not well-known, I think… sorry if it’s wrong. But in Japan everyone knows about it! ;)). Thank you for your kind offer, but I’m going to see if I can make them at home! You are always sweet and gentleman. Thank you Charles!

  19. says

    Oh man you are teasing me. Back then when I was in Europe in May I was hunting down chestnuts because I hadn’t eaten any in 6 years! But of course I didn’t find any sine it wasnt the season, yet that shows my obsession. We call them maroni in austria and we make a cream filling of those for roulades. That is so addictive!

    I have definitely never seen nor tastes this dish before. Very interessting though!

    • says

      Hi Helene – you should have picked up some canned chestnuts – I know, they’re not the same as fresh ones, but they’re usually not too bad! Can you get chestnuts in Goa? (or even canned ones?)

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