I don’t cook much with truffle, as the quality of the truffles available in the Netherlands is usually disappointing — especially considering the price. But when I got this dried truffle as a freebie to try out, I thought I’d make a nice risotto with it. For future reference I can point out that it is better to buy fresh truffle, because for the list price of this (1.5 grams of dried truffle and a bit of truffle-infused olive oil) at 8 euros ($10 US) you can usually buy 8 grams of fresh truffle (at least in Amsterdam), which will give you a lot more truffle taste for your money. The dried truffle slices did not really smell of anything and just provided texture, the truffle-infused oil was OK. For the non-metric people around: 1.5 grams is only 1/19 oz. The “dose per 4 persone” means that it should be enough for 4 servings; according to me it certainly isn’t as it was not quite enough for 2.
I got the idea to add leek and shallots to the risotto as well from an outstanding dish I had at Osteria Francescana in Modena last September. Massimo Bottura is one of Italy’s most famous chefs, and although I was not completely impressed by the entire meal I definitely was very much impressed by the ‘tartlet’ of leek, shallots and truffle as it is one of the best vegetarian dish I’ve ever eaten. In risotto the combination turned out quite nice as well.
By the way, most truffle oil available is not made from actual truffles but is made synthetically. This is as bad as using stock cubes rather than home-made stock or vanilline rather than real vanilla beans. So check the label carefully!
For 2 servings
120 grams risotto rice such as arborio
600 ml (2,5 cups) home-made vegetable stock
10 grams (1/3 oz) fresh truffle or 5 grams (1/6 oz) fresh truffle and 1 Tbsp of real truffle oil
300 grams (2/3 pound) leeks, white part only
100 grams (4 oz) shallots, chopped
3 Tbsp butter
1 glass (100 ml) dry white wine
salt and freshly ground pepper
4 Tbsp freshly grated parmigiano reggiano
Use only the white and light green part of the leeks. Cut in half lengthwise and then cut in slices as shown.
Melt 2 Tbsp butter in a wide frying pan and add the leeks and the chopped shallots. Sauté for a minute, season with a pinch of salt.
Decrease heat to low and cover the frying pan. Let braise for 20 minutes, stirring now and then to prevent the leeks from burning.
After 20 minutes the leeks should be slightly golden, soft and fragrant.
Heat the vegetable stock and keep it simmering (not boiling).
Increase the heat to medium. Add the rice and sauté for a few minutes to toast the rice.
Add the wine and stir until the wine has evaporated.
Add a ladle of stock, and stir until all of it has been absorbed. Keep adding stock and stirring for 16-18 minutes until the rice is cooked to your liking (it should still have some bite to it).
I actually had to add the dried truffle about 6-8 minutes before the rice was cooked. If you are using fresh truffles, mince part and make nice slices of the rest. Add the minced truffle at the end together with the cheese, and put the nice slices on top for serving.
Take off the heat. Add the final tablespoon of butter, half the freshly grated parmigiano and the minced truffle. Mix.
Serve on preheated plates, sprinkled with the remaining parmigiano and the nice truffle slices on top.