October in Umbria is a great time to enjoy nature’s bounty including wild mushrooms, chestnuts, and of course truffles. For the next month or two there will be truffle festivals held across Umbria, and unfortunately since we are leaving Umbria a little earlier than usual, we will miss them all. We do have a few connections to fresh truffles, and are lucky to almost always have them on hand. When we are given fresh truffles, we will usually enjoy them on top of fresh pasta the day we receive them. The rest we shave, mix with olive oil and freeze in small bags to enjoy later. One truffle festival we try and attend each year is in Pietralunga, a small town in northern Umbria. The first thing we do when we reach the town is to head to the bakery where they sell slices of warm focaccia topped with black truffle paste. The truffles lose their aroma when cooked, so the paste is spread across the flatbread after it has been baked, and while it is still warm. The warmth of the just baked bread enhances all that truffle goodness creating an intoxicating scent.
I understand completely that most folks do not have fresh black truffles available to them, but I have made this focaccia back in the states using truffle paste, or tartufata sold in jars with very good results. Tartufata is a blend of black truffles and mushrooms that is delicious and can be used in place of fresh truffles when they are not available. You can buy a good quality brand of tartufata now in many specialty food stores such as Whole Foods and through many online sources such as Amazon.com (See Link Below) or Click On Image For More Details On Ordering).
Sabatino Tartufata Sauce, 3.2 Fluid Ounce
Dogs hunting for black truffles.
Grating black truffles.
Our recent black truffle bounty.
Deborah Mele 2015
- 5 Cups All-purpose Unbleached Flour
- 2 Teaspoons Instant Active Dry Yeast
- 2 – 3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil (Plus 2 Additional Tablespoons To Oil Bowl)
- 1 Teaspoon Salt
- 2 Cups Warm Water
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 (3.2 Ounce) Jar Tartufata or 1 Cup Black Truffle Paste
- Coarse Sea Salt
- Measure and assemble your flour, oil, salt, yeast, and water.
- Add everything but the water into a large bowl and stir.
- Add half the water and stir.
- Continue to add water until the dough begins to come together into a shaggy ball.
- Dump the dough mixture onto a lightly floured surface and begin to knead with the heels of your hand.
- Knead for about 5 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and pliant.
- Add a little oil (2 tablespoons) to the bottom of a large bowl and place your ball of dough inside.
- Roll the ball of dough around in the oil ensuring the sides of the bowl and ball of dough are both lightly oiled.
- Cover your bowl with plastic wrap and place in a warm spot to rise. (I cover mine with a kitchen towel on top of the plastic wrap and sit it on a large sunny windowsill.)
- Let the dough rise until it is doubled in size, about an hour or an hour and a half depending on ambient temperature.
- Lightly oil a 13 x 9 inch baking sheet with sides.
- Dump your risen dough into the pan punching it down to deflate it.
- Use your fingers to push and press the dough evenly over the bottom of the pan.
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
- Drizzle about 1/3 of a cup of olive oil over the top.
- Sprinkle coarse sea salt over the top of your focaccia, and let it sit to rise again for 15 minutes.
- Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown.
- After the focaccia comes out of the oven, spread the tartufata or truffle paste over the top.
- Let cool 10 minutes then slice and serve.