I love this time of the year in Italia. You get to enjoy black truffles shaved over pici, a rustic home-made spaghetti, or white truffles shaved atop fresh fettucine, or either, shaved atop golden veal scallopine. You may not believe it but black or white truffles shaved on top of eggs fried in olive oil is heavenly, too. I don’t know what excites me more, the truffle aroma that fills my head as the dish arrives or the first bite.
We’re in luck this year. Santo of North Beach’s Cavalli Cafe is selling white and black truffles from Piemonte and Umbria along with fragrant and meaty porcini just dried in the Tuscan sun, and an extra virgin olive oil from a small mill pressed 2 weeks ago. Quite a score for Santo. Bravo!
As of today these truffles are five days out of the ground. Santo’s prices are very reasonable and the quality is excellent. Treat yourself. It’s the holidays – eat some fresh truffles while you can.
The truffles will last about a week wrapped in paper towel and stored in a paper bag in the fridge. If you don’t use them all you can freeze what’s left in butter. Just scoop out what you need. That should last you until next year’s harvest.
But don’t delay because the just-pressed extra virgin olive oil sold out in a day. I’ll save my tasting notes until the next shipment arrives. It ain’t cheap, but you’ll want to get some of this fantastic, fresh finishing oil before the next shipment sells out, too. I’ll let you know when it arrives.
Here is a white truffle pasta recipe and a black truffle pasta recipe to get you started. I suggest you either make fresh pasta or use a very good Italian dried durum wheat pasta. If you use my fresh pasta recipe just pass the pasta sheets through the fettucine or tagliatelle cutters on the pasta machine, or tightly roll up the pasta sheets and cut them in 1/2 inch ribbons. Buon appetito!
White Truffle Sauce
- 1 fresh white truffle, cleaned well
- 1 pound or 500 grams fresh fettucine, pappardelle or a good dried Italian durum wheat pasta
- 2 sage leaves, roughly torn
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons sea salt
- 1/8 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated
- Put on a big pot of water, add the sea salt and bring to a boil.
- Clean the truffle with a stiff brush. Gently wipe the surface with a damp cloth,
- Make the sauce as you wait for the pasta to cook. (Be quick if you use fresh pasta because it only takes a few minutes to cook. If that is too much pressure for you make the sauce while the water is boiling.)
- In a large skillet melt the butter and the sage leaves over medium-low heat and cook for several minutes until the butter begins to foam. Be careful the butter does not toast or turn a light brown color.
- Add the al dente pasta to the saute pan and mix well.
- Add 1/4 cup of the pasta water to loosen the sauce. Mix well. Most of the sauce will be absorbed by the pasta.
- Add the parmigiano and mix well with the pasta.
- Plate up the pasta servings. Top with 3 or 4 paper-thin slices of white truffle. (Use a truffle shaver, a mandolin or a sharp knife to make the slices.)
- Serve immediately.
- Serves 4.
Black Truffle Sauce
- 1 large black truffle
- 3 anchovy filets packed in olive oil
- 1 garlic clove
- 1/3 cup EVOO
- 1 pound or 500 grams fresh tagliatelle or dried Italian durum wheat spaghettii
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Clean the truffle with a stiff brush. Pick out any dirt stuck in the ridges with a toothpick. Run the truffle under cold water to remove the dirt and pat dry.
- Put on a big pot of well salted water on the stove and bring to a boil.
- While the pasta is cooking make the sauce.
- Grate the truffle with a microplane. Place in a large bowl.
- Mince the garlic and the anchovies together with a little salt to form a paste. Add the paste to the bowl.
- Whisk in the EVOO. Add sea salt and black pepper to taste.
- When the pasta is cooked al dente add the pasta and a 1/4 cup of the pasta water to the bowl and mix well.
- Serve immediately.
- Serves 4-6.