About Beth

Beth, along with her husband, Mike, is co-owner of two Italian Deli/Markets in St. Louis - Viviano’s Festa Italiano. When not creating yummy new menu items for the deli, she’s the pediatric research lab supervisor at Washington University School of Medicine. Read more out about Viviano’s Festa Italiano.

About Irene

Irene loves to think, read and dream about food. She enjoys cooking & eating in general. Although she demures about her talents, Irene has a finely-tuned palate that her friends envy. She bakes on occasion. The rest of the time she's creating memories with her family and friends. . . or she's learning a new needlecraft technique.

About Deborah

Deborah is a wife, mother, grandmother, traveler, bootlegger, and a very poor speller! As Victor Hazan so eloquently puts it, Deborah has chosen Umbria to be the home of her soul. When she can’t be there in body, she spends her free time cooking & reading about Italy. She blogs mostly about food and about trips – past and future – here: Old Shoes New Trip.

About Doug

Doug lives in Eastern Ontario in a farmhouse built in 1903. He is a retired teacher with four adult children, a wife, a son-in-law, two Irish step-grandchildren and one grandson who he is lucky to hang with a lot. He has way too many books. Doug also blogs at To Slow Time Down.

About Cindy

Cindy lives in Eagle River, Alaska where her freezer is always full of salmon, halibut & shrimp. Cindy participates in several regular cooking challenges. You can read more about her cooking and life in the last frontier on her blog, Baked Alaska.

About Sandi

Sandi is a true Southerner, but a traveler & Italian cook at heart. She lives in Alabama and knows more about fried green tomatoes than fricassees. Her family owned the WhistleStop Café for many years. Sandi also blogs at Whistlestop Cafe Cooking.

About Jan

Jan, a serious home cook, has owned “Essentials” since 1992. She is passionate about all things Italian, especially the cuisine & the language. Jan blogs about her travels (next trip Italy May/June of 2010) at: Keep your Feet in the Street.

About Jerry

Jerry is a food obsessed Canadian. He learned to love Italian food as a child while eating the meals prepared by his Napolitano uncle. He learned to cook Italian foods by watching his uncle cook these feasts for the family. This love of Italian food has been honed through serious personal experimentation in eating and cooking. Willing to try most anything once, Jerry isn't so sure about tripe! Jerry also blogs at Jerry's Thoughts, Musings, and Rants!

About Palma

Palma is a Marriage & Family Therapist in Palm Desert, CA. She’s an Italian-American with a passion for cooking, entertaining, & travel to Italy. She’s always planning her next culinary adventure to Italia on her blog, Palmabella's Passions

About Kim

Kim is our permanent sub and the image above gives you a good idea of the look on her face when she realized she was drafted. Kim loves to eat, drink, travel and cook - probably in that order. When she's not here, you can find her organizing and leading food, wine and beer tours in Europe as co-owner and operator of GrapeHops or blogging at What I Really Think.

« Pesto with Ricotta | Main | Tuna Sauce with Tomatoes and Garlic »

Black Truffle Sauce

Truffles are highly prized fungi that grow underground near the roots of trees (usually oak but also hazel, beech and a few others). Harvested in Italy and France with the help of trained dogs, they are one of the most expensive foods in the world. Fresh black truffles can cost $600 or more per pound.

Black Truffles

Since fresh truffles are so expensive and hard to come by in the Midwest, I settled for canned truffles. To my surprise finding them in a can was a challenge in itself. Not even the upscale specialty markets in St. Louis had them. All of the online sites I visited were sold out. In my pursuit, I had many conversations with grocery managers and foodies about their expense and unique aroma. Truffle oil I found everywhere. I even came across one can of truffle juice. It was 12 ounces and looked like it had been on the shelf a very long time. It was $99 but they were willing to mark it down to $59 just to get rid of it. I passed and pushed forward. I lucked out while sampling a decadently creamy imported cheese at one market. As I rolled my eyes in delight, I caught a glimpse of the label in my peripheral. It was a jar of black truffles hidden in a dinky corner near the cheeses. I was so happy to find them I didn’t care about the $25 per ounce price tag.

Many advised me to skip the dish since nothing compares to having truffles fresh. I’ll admit trying truffles was an experience I was saving for when I visited Europe. But today’s culinary adventure will be its own unique event. Tasting them fresh in Italy, France or New York sometime in the future will still be very exciting and special.

Spaghettini, thin spaghetti, is tossed in the sauce made of olive oil, garlic, anchovy, and black truffles. Marcella mentions this dish is best savored a due, in the company of just one other. As food is one of my true loves and my husband does not eat mushrooms or anything that reminds him of mushrooms, that’s kind of what I did. It was just me and the truffle sauce. I lit a candle, poured a glass of white wine and listened to Puccini as I savored this sexy pasta.

Spaghettini with Black Truffle Sauce

This dish is full of flirtation. Each forkful like a wink, kiss or gentle brush of the hand. The flavor of the sauce is well balanced. Not too garlicky nor too rich or earthy. All the ingredients work in harmony for a great overall sensation. It’s as if each taste bud is whispering for you to fall in love.

©2010 Irene D. Ericson

Comments (10)

What a wonderful post! Talk about the romance of food. WOW. Great job, Irene.

I agree with Deborah-great post. How great that you persevered until you found the truffles. I've never had truffles-only the oil. I hope to change that when visiting Italy this fall.

Ray Anne:

Your post emanates the essence of this dish. Brava, bravissima.

Janice Jacquet:

just a little suggestion you could as truffles are so expensive you could use shitake or portobello mushroom chopped very finly adding some truffle oil

Marcella Hazan:

Irene, you should try your hand at writing the kind of romantic novel known as a bodice ripper. I think you've got the gift. All you need to do is let go.

An importer in Chicago just sent me some summer truffles from Italy. I was planning to make this very sauce today, but I was sidetracked. Maybe tomorrow, but by then they will have lost what little aroma they might have had. I wouldn't bother with so-called truffle oils. Truffle aroma can be synthesized, and most oils are just that, synthetics.

You did a good job. I am glad you had a good time.

Wow Irene, I so enjoyed your post! That is a difficult recipe at this time of year, not to mention an expensive one at any time of year! I admire your solution and the description of the meal.

This looks delicious. I brought a few bottles of preserved truffles home from Italy and now I have a good use for them. MMM


I have to try this - the combination of truffle and anchovy has my curiosity piqued.

BTW - a couple of years ago we purchased a fresh Pacific NW truffle at Whole Foods. I wouldn't bother in the future. :(


Hi! I'm from Saint Louis too, and I have been looking for canned truffles for a while. Do you mind telling me where you got yours? By the way, I love Marcella's recipes and I am soooo glad I have found your site!!!


Socorro - Try Whole Foods in Town and Country.

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