Umbria is famous for its black truffles, and although in general black truffles are not as highly prized as white truffles by most gourmets, they are none the less delicious and are commonly served shaved on top of pasta dishes or risottos. Luckily, black truffles are much more affordable than white ones, and we try to buy black truffles at least every couple of weeks when they are available. When describing a black truffle to someone it really isn’t that easy, because it is as much the aroma, than the actual favor one experiences when enjoying a dish with black truffles as an ingredient. I think my favorite way to experience black truffles is in a simple pasta dish such as this one. We bought some black truffles a month ago and were given precise instructions on how to prepare this easy dish by the truffle vendor, and although we have made this dish many times in the past, we did find that pre-soaking the truffle as he instructed did indeed enhance the aroma and flavor of the truffle. Although here in Umbria this dish is traditionally prepared with strangozzi or umbricelli pasta, you can use spaghetti or linguine instead as they are similar in shape and function. You should serve this pasta as is, without grated cheese, although we do like to add a little cracked black pepper on top.
Deborah Mele 2011
Strangozzi With Black Truffles
A traditional Umbrian specialty found across the region every fall and winter.
- 2 Ounces Norcia or Other Black Truffle
- 1/2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 Garlic Clove, Peeled & Smashed
- 1 Pound Pasta Such as Spaghetti or Linguine (See Note Above)
- Sea Salt
- With a soft brush, under tepid running water, gently loosen and remove dirt from truffle.
- Use the tip of a paring knife to remove any dirt from the crevices, then brush again.
- Fill a small bowl with warm water and let the truffle soak for one hour, dry.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.
- Combine oil and garlic in a small saucepan over very low heat, and cook until oil is warm (do not let boil).
- Finely grate three quarters of the truffle into oil, and set the remaining one-quarter aside.
- Add a generous pinch salt to oil, stirring with a fork to dissolve, then remove sauce from heat.
- Add pasta to boiling water and cook until al dente.
- Just before draining the pasta, gently rewarm sauce.
- Reserving 1/4 cup of pasta liquid, drain the pasta.
- Transfer pasta to a large serving bowl.
- Immediately pour sauce over pasta and toss well to combine.
- Add 3 to 4 tablespoons pasta liquid to moisten and toss again.
- Season with salt and divide among individual pasta bowls.
- Shave remaining truffle over each pasta bowl and serve immediately.