Late last fall I thought I was going to overdose on truffles while visiting Italy in the fall. Sure, it was a bit of a splurge, but eating fresh truffles in season is one of those “bucket list” events that must be indulged.
Unfortunately, the truffle season is rather short and you could pay an “arm and a leg” to find fresh truffles. Unless you can afford a trip to Italy or southern France, your next best opportunity might be preserved truffles.
Since I had difficulty finding authentic truffles in the U.S., I decided to seek out my own. Gourmet Living’s truffle carpaccio consists of sliced black summer truffles preserved in sunflower oil. While summer truffles lack the intensity of black and white truffles, they tend to be more affordable. Truffle slices are preserved in sunflower oil which tends to have less “flavor” than olive oil which would compete with the distinct aroma and flavor of the truffle.
Found below, is a cozy and special recipe from Marcella Hazan featured her cookbook Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking. For those looking for an affordable truffle option, consider Gourmet Living’s truffle carpaccio found below.
Marcella Hazan's Spaghetti alla Nursina
Yield 2 servings
There are few things more memorable that pasta with fresh truffles. A delightful recipe from Marcella Hazan featuring fresh black truffles.
- 2 1/2 to 3 ounces of black truffles (or Gourmet Living's summer truffles)
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
- 1 flat anchovy fillet chopped very fine
- 6 ounces (less than half a package) of Italian spaghettini, thin spaghetti
- If using fresh truffles, clean them with a stiff brush, rinse them briefly, and pat thoroughly dry. It using preserved truffles, drain them and pat them dry. Do not discard the liquid; save it to add to a roast or meat sauce.
- Grate the truffles to a very fine-grain consistency, using the smallest holes of a flat-sited grater. If you have a good mortar and pestle, chop them up and grind them to a pulp in the mortar.
- Put the truffles into a small earthenware saucepan. If you do not have earthenware, use enameled cast iron. Add the olive oil, trickling it in a little at a time, and stirring thoroughly.
- Turn on the heat to low, and add the garlic and the chopped anchovy. Stir with a wooden spoon for about 10 minutes, mashing the anchovy until it is almost completely dissolved into a paste. Keep the heat low, and do not let the oil bubble. If the oil becomes too hot, move the pay away from the heat for a few moments. Add salt to taste, stir once or twice, and remove from heat.
- Cook the pasta in 3 to 4 quarts salted boiling water. Bear in mind that thin spaghetti cooks rather quickly. As soone as it is cooked al dente, tender but firm to the bite, drain it quickly, and transfer to a war bowl.
- Remove the garlic from the truffle sauce, and pour all the contents on the pan over the spaghetti. Toss thoroughly, and serve at once.
While fresh truffles are best, enjoy Marcella’s dish with Gourmet Living’s summer truffle carpaccio. Simply pat dry to remove as much of the oil as possible before adding to the pasta.