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.