Tagliatelle al Tartufo
Truffles are one of the most wonderful culinary luxuries in the world. We are so lucky to live close to one of its most important areas, San Giovanni d’Asso in central Tuscany, and towards the end of October and throughout November we try to have our annual fix. Like many things in life it’s worth having less but the best, and given the price of truffles (between €250 and €400 per 100 grams depending on quality level), we interpret it as a treat to indulge in seasonally, when the tuber is freshly picked out of the ground.
We adore the region of Piemonte, home of the famous Alba White Truffle, and on our last visit we indulged at the Osteria del Boccondivino, in the town of Bra, where the slow food movement started. This season however, we visited our friends at the Locanda del Castello in San Giovanni d’Asso, ahead of their annual Truffle Festival. The 2017 truffles are very few and far between due to the extended drought this summer and from what we understand the quality is mixed, therefore it’s more important than ever to know the provenance of your truffles – a good relationship with a trusted tartuffaio is extremely valuable in these parts. Those that we have tasted so far have had a great intensity of flavour and aroma.
A good way to enjoy truffles, particularly in an expensive year such as 2017 is at home (restaurant mark ups can be huge). It’s possible to find wonderful recipes, and for us some of the most simple dishes are the best: truffles go fantastically with eggs or beef tartare (here are some great examples). Our favourite way to enjoy them however is with tagliatelle, a recipe that typically involves butter rather than olive oil (Piemonte of course bordering France as it does, uses more butter in its cuisine than olive oil). You won’t be surprised to know however that we have challenged this and added the most luscious, dense oil that we know and this of course comes from Puglia and the wonderful De Carlo family. We opted for a monocultivar Coratina, Tenuta Torre di Mossa DOP which is a late harvesting cultivar, rich in antioxidants and overflowing with flavour and a buttery texture.
Fresh pasta is the best for this dish. Use tajarin (from piemonte), thick spaghetti, or tagliatelle. The truffle has to be fresh, and shaved abundantly over the dish with a very thin blade (there are specific instruments for this). Generally speaking white truffles have finer aromas than black ones (and are subsequently more expensive), but they are not easy to source. If you can’t find a good supplier … consider a holiday to Tuscany or Piemonte next autumn – it’s worth it for this dish alone.
For 4 people:
400 g fresh tagliatelle
Generous glug of Tenuta Torre di Mossa, De Carlo, Extra Virgin Olive Oil (equivalent to 2 tbsp)
100g parmigiano reggiano
1 knob of butter
a fresh truffle, cleaned gently but thoroughly.
Which EVOO to use?
For this dish use Coratina, Tenuta Torre di Mossa DOP, to complement the lovely truffle flavour
1. Bring the water to the boil, salt and put your pasta in, considering that fresh pasta generally takes very little time to cook.
2. When the pasta is almost done, warm the butter and olive oil in a wide frying pan over a low heat. To this, add the tagliatelle from the boiling water and coat fully. Some of the water will have come across with the pasta, but if you see that it’s a bit dry, add some more from the boiling pot.
3. Keeping the flame on low and mixing the pasta and the oil, add all the grated cheese until fully combined.
4. Divide the pasta in 4 plates and shave the truffle directly on the plate in front of your guests.