Truffled Risotto


You can only imagine how ecstatic I was when a very generous friend (*thank you*) handed over to me a truffle. My first truffle to be exact. First step was to stop by Surfas and get myself a truffle shaver, shiny and made in Italy. Then the Santa Monica farmer’s market early Saturday morning to pick up some potatoes for gnocchi, the base for the truffle.

When I got back home I stuck my nose into the truffle holding container and take a few deep whiffs. Smiled, put it back. Took out my new truffle shaver and admired it. Smiled, put it back. I waited around til Sunday so I could make the truffled gnocchi for dinner for Boy and me. I read cookbooks all day, drank some delicious raw milk and noshed on a boiled egg with sriracha. Then took a wonderful Sunday afternoon nap and dreamt about food. Perhaps snoozed one too many times (old habits die hard) and then woke up to realize maybe it’s too late to make gnocchi for dinner.

That’s when risotto came to the rescue. I always have risotto rice lying around in my pantry. This time it was Carnaroli rice.

It is a new variety, developed in 1945 by a Milanese rice grower who crossed Vialone with a Japanese strain. There is far less of it produced than either Arborio or Vialone Nano, and it is more expensive, but it is questionably the most excellent of the three. Its kernel is sheathed in enough soft starch to dissolve deliciously in cooking, but it also contains more of the tough starch than any other risotto variety so that it cooks to an exceptionally satisfying firm consistency. [Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking, Marcella Hazan]

I kept the risotto simple with onion, garlic, thyme, butter, Parmigiano Reggiano, and chicken stock. In retrospect I should have cut the chicken stock with some water because as wise Marcella states “pure chicken broth becomes too distinctly sharp.” And also salty when reduced along with the added seasoning from the Parmigiano. I’ll confess right now that I am guilty of using store-bought chicken stock. Don’t hate me.

The risotto still came out delicious and I loved the individual character of each rice kernel. Perhaps a few more tablespoons of stock off the heat would have been smart because as you can see it is a bit thick. It should flow more. Ahh, so many mistakes. But one thing that wasn’t even close to a mistake was the showering of truffle shavings over the risotto. Sigh, pure happiness. I smile thinking about that moment – my first shave of a real truffle. It was pretty awesome. The perfume of truffle hitting the warm rice is amazing. Now only if I can get my hands on a white truffle from Alba I will be able to make heaven in my kitchen. I can already tell this is going to be an expensive habit. A very very happy expensive habit.


12 thoughts on “Truffled Risotto

  1. Fancy shmancy! Where did you get the black truffles and how much did it set you back?
    BTW I was watching some food show yesterday and Mario Batali said that instead of stirring your risotto (to incorporate the broth), people should leave it alone. What do you do?

  2. i stirred bc marcella says to stir. “rice that is not stirred, that stews in too much liquid, that cooks in a covered pot, may turn into a perfectly agreeable dish, but it is not risotto, and will not taste like risotto”. what kind of risotto was batali making?

  3. this argument reminds me of a top chef episode with Howie….

    anyhow, of all habits to have, one that involves truffles is not a bad thing… 🙂

  4. you know, i must admit i hate truffles/truffle oil. i went to luna park for dinner a couple years ago and got some ravioli that is supposed to be to die for. i had to send it back. that was the day i realized that truffle oil makes me kind of nauseous! which is a pity because it’s supposed to be so delightful.

    oh well. me and my neanderthal taste buds.

  5. hi hannah, oh howie.. why did he put the cream in the risotto?! eek.

    hi imani, you know i used to absolutely hate mushrooms when i was younger. by younger i mean until few years ago. truffles may make you nauseous but have you tried magic truffles?

    hi anne, scarily my new best friend is my credit card as of today. i’m scared to step foot into anywhere that has truffles!

  6. I have never tried magic truffles, but I do have a bit of experience with magic mushrooms….
    Ahem. The risotto sounds delightful. What wine did you serve?

  7. Just came across you beautiful looking post and wanted to give you a little tip if you have any of that truffle left over, or even when you get your hands on another. If you store it in a box of risotto rice, the rice will absorb lots of yummy truffle flavour so every risotto can be truffle flavoured at least. I am so jealous of you!

  8. I can almost smell the truffles oozing through the computer monitor. YUM. I’ve totally been craving the Ludo Bites veloute with egg mollet and truffles dish, which for a smallish dollop for over $30, will be the end of me. So good though.

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