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.
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