If it’s fall there must be truffles, and every fall here in Umbria truffle markets begin to pop up across the region. We recently went to Pietralunga for their festival to celebrate Umbrian Truffles & Potatoes. This is a market we try and visit each year as a number of our favorite Umbrian truffle companies are there selling their wares along with other local products such as artisan cheese, breads, and cured meats. I’ve included a few photos below of Pietralunga which is a very pretty, small town in northern Umbria.
Though black truffles are much more common, and much less expensive than white truffles, as the weather cools, white truffles finally do make their appearance. We are leaving Umbria in just over a week and won’t be back until next spring, so we decided to treat ourselves to a couple of white truffles to enjoy on pasta the following evening. Though we do enjoy black truffles quite often throughout the warmer months, white truffles are a luxury for us due to both their cost and rarity.
White truffles tend to be more fragrant than black, so the 24 hours they were in our refrigerator, they sort of took over. Nothing like getting up in the morning, opening the fridge to get the milk for your coffee and being walloped with the intense smell of truffles! Since white truffles are so precious, when using them you want to keep the recipes simple. In general, they are served on top of fresh pasta of some type, either taglierini, or tagliatelle, though I chose a traditional Umbrian fresh stringozzi. The pasta is lightly “sauced” in either melted butter that has been flavored with garlic, or maybe a touch of cream is added and the truffle is then shaved on top just before serving. The heat of the pasta enhances the amazing scent of the truffle and just a pinch of salt completes the dish.
The truffles may look like they were just dug up from the dirt (they were) but do not try and wash them. Instead, brush away any dirt clinging to the truffle with a soft brush.
Roasted Chestnuts. It must be fall!
Church in Pietralunga
Amazing selection of cheeses from Montone
My favorite cheese aged with grapes. Delicious!
One of the truffle companies selling their products.
View of Umbrian countryside from Pietralunga.
Another view of Umbrian countryside.
A snack before lunch……focaccia covered in black truffle paste of course!
Choosing our white truffles to purchase.
A VERY expensive assortment of white truffles for sale.
The three tiny white truffles we bought. About 1 1/2 inches each.
A very tasty bowl of fresh pasta with white truffles.
Deborah Mele 2013
Fresh Pasta With White Truffles
- 1 Large Garlic Clove, Halved
- 8 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
- 3 Large Fresh Sage Leaves
- 1 Pound Fresh Pasta of Choice (See Notes)
- 2 Tablespoons Cream
- Sea Salt
- 2 to 3 Ounces Fresh White Truffles
- Over low heat in a small saucepan, melt the butter along with the sage and garlic, and gently simmer for 5 minutes.
- Season the butter with salt and pepper and discard the garlic and sage.
- Add the cream and keep warm.
- Cook the pasta in lightly salted boiling water until it is “al dente”.
- Drain, the toss the pasta with the seasoned butter and toss until mixed.
- Serve in individual bowls with the fresh white truffle shaved on top.
Adapted from Saveur Magazine