In the mountains of Le Marche, in central Italy, where I grew up, it's pretty cold, and we had lots of snowy Christmases. My parents always bought the ingredients for our feast from neighboring farms or friends' stores, and every year my father would buy fresh chestnuts and roast them in a special perforated pan he kept in the oven. When I decided, at age 13, to make chestnut soup, my dad was skeptical, but he quickly fell in love with it. This soup was one of the first dishes I cooked that made me want to be a chef. It's very hearty; if you add a slice of roasted sausage you have a meal. To me, the holiday season wouldn't be the same without chestnut soup.
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