Italian White Alba Truffles
I'd never had truffles before, and didn't know what to expect. The smell alone is amazing. It's hard to describe, so I'll let a better writer say it...
Presently, we were aware of an odour gradually coming towards us, something musky, fiery, savoury, mysterious, -- a hot drowsy smell, that lulls the senses, and yet enflames them, -- the truffles were coming. -- William Makepeace Thackeray
Wow. That's a lot of passion for one little ingredient. Personally, I think he might have been a little bit pent up and getting more out of the truffles than many of us, but who am I to judge?
With this dramatic buildup of the truffle in mind, we went simple for our first truffle meal. It was so good that it's likely that simple will be the theme for each upcoming truffle dish.
Farfalle with Parmesan, Sauteed Pearl Onions, and White Alba Truffles
6 oz dried farfalle pasta
12 pearl onions (I used 4 each of red, yellow, and white, but only because I had a mixed bag)
1 oz good Parmesan cheese, shaved with a vegetable peeler
1 small Italian White Alba Truffle (or about 1/4 of an ounce of any good truffle)
course salt, such as kosher salt or sea salt
Bring a pot of water to boil for the pasta and salt the water if you like. Boil until al dente, then drain.
Meanwhile, boil some water in a small saucepan, and blanch the pearl onions for about five minutes. Have a small bowl of ice water handy, and transfer the onions to the ice water to cool. Use your fingers to slip the skins off of the onions, then slice each onion in half, lengthwise.
Dry the saucepan and return it to medium heat. Add a bit of butter to the pan, and once it's melted, add the onions. Stir occasionally and let the onions caramelize a bit. When the onions are done, remove from heat and set the pan aside.
After the pasta is ready and drained in a colander, put the pasta and onions in a large bowl, and toss with more butter and half of the cheese. Using a cheese grater, grate the truffle directly onto the pasta and toss lightly. Top with the remainder of the Parmesan cheese and some coarse salt.
We shaved a little extra truffle on the top, as you can see. Although the scent is RIGHT there when you have the plate in front of you, when tossed in the buttery pasta, they tend to disappear. I like to visually announce their presence as well.
...and serve with the rest of the white wine that you've been drinking while cooking.