Black autumn truffles (Tuber Uncinatum) are in season and they are not as expensive as white truffles (Tuber Magnatum Pico). They are also not as fragrant, but for fragrant truffles their freshness is more important than their color. I’ve already written about risotto with dried truffles and truffle oil, but dried truffles and truffle oil are poor substitutes for the real thing. When you buy fresh truffles, make sure they are still very fragrant when you buy them, and use them as soon as possible.
If you have to store the truffles for a day and you are going to make risotto, then the best thing is to store the truffles in the refrigerator in an airtight container with the rice that you are going to use for the risotto! The rice will absorb any moisture (that would otherwise cause mold on the truffles) and will absorb any loss of flavor.
Truffles have a delicate earthy flavor and the best way to enjoy them is with a very simple risotto made with a mushroom stock. For the mushroom stock I’ve used fresh mushrooms, dried porcini mushrooms, and aromatic vegetables. Most of the truffles I grated and stirred into the risotto, the remaining truffle was used for garnish. If you can afford it, use white truffle (in season soon!) instead of black truffle. White truffle is much more fragrant, but also at least 5 times more expensive. If you are used to the overpowering aroma of truffle oil and you have never tasted fresh truffle before, you may be disappointed by the elegance of the flavor of fresh truffles. If you must, add a drop, but only a drop, of good quality truffle oil made from actual truffles (not the chemical stuff).
130 grams (2/3 cup) risotto rice
70 grams (2.5 oz) fresh truffles
80 ml (1/3 cup) dry white wine
1 shallot, minced
750 ml (3 cups) mushroom stock (see below)
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp butter
freshly grated parmigiano reggiano
25 grams (1 oz) dried porcini mushrooms
250 grams (.55 lb) fresh mushrooms
1 tomato, quartered
80 grams (1/3 cup) chopped celery
80 grams (1/3 cup) chopped carrot
80 grams (1/3 cup) chopped onion
Start by making the stock. For best flavor extraction, mince the fresh mushrooms in the food processor.
Combine all the ingredients for the stock in a stockpot and cover with water (about 750 ml/3 cups). Cover, bring to a boil, and allow to simmer for an hour. Then strain, pushing down on the solids to extract as much stock as possible. Since the stock will be used for risotto, it is okay if it is cloudy. Keep the stock simmering for making the risotto.
Heat 1 tablespoon of the butter and the tablespoon of olive oil in a wide thick-bottomed pan. Add the shallot and sauté over medium low heat for about 5 minutes or until the shallot is soft and fragrant.
Add the rice and toast the rice over medium heat for a couple of minutes.
Add the white wine and cook over medium heat, stirring, until the wine has been absorbed by the rice.
Add a ladle of stock and cook over medium heat, stirring, until the stock has been absorbed by the rice.
Keep stirring and adding stock until the rice is almost cooked al dente and you have used up all the stock. If needed, add hot water if you run out of stock and the rice isn’t cooked yet.
A gratuitous grated truffle shot is not as gratuitous as we’d all like, as the stuff is darn expensive.
When the rice is almost cooked, add the grated truffle.
Turn off the heat. Add the remaining tablespoon of butter and a bit of freshly grated parmigiano.
Stir until the butter and cheese have melted and allow the risotto to rest for a couple of minutes.
Meanwhile, slice the remaining truffle with a truffle slicer.
Serve the risotto on preheated plates, garnished with truffle slices and a slight sprinkle of freshly grated parmigiano.
The aroma of truffles works well with Barolo or Barbaresco. As the flavor of truffle is very elegant, a Barbaresco or elegant Barolo will be a better match than a heavy Barolo.
Another risotto, this one much more humble than truffle risotto: carrot risotto. The flavor of the carrots is enhanced by roasting them. What would also work, or perhaps even better, is to pressure cook the carrots with baking powder to caramelize them.
10 thoughts on “Fresh Truffle Risotto (Risotto al Tartufo)”
Great risotto! I love truffle risotto. The idea of using the mushroom stock is so special!
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You’ve shared another great recipe, Stefan. Few foods say “decadence” like truffles do and this risotto of yours is the perfect platform to display — and utilize — them. I bet the dish was delicious!
I rather (in)famous Italian store in town — the new guy in town — has just advertised truffles and I intend to drop by tomorrow to see that they’ve got. Doubt that I’ll purchase any but it’s a good excuse to go there and shop. No matter what I buy will seem inexpensive in comparison. 🙂
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Thanks, John. The autumn truffles available right now aren’t that expensive. The amount used for this set me back 15 euros. I wonder what kind of markup you will be facing.
They’re selling white truffles, mail order, for $168.00/ounce. Free shipping, of course. 🙂 I’m going to see if those are the same prices in-store. This place, located downtown, is very expensive but offers free parking. That can be as much as $20.00 off of the grocery bill, bringing its prices more into line.
Ouch! White truffles here are usually around 1 euro per gram, so that looks like a 300% markup or something. Even at that price white truffles are expensive to make risotto.
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I’ve just returned from the market. They sell white truffles for $5.00 a gram which is pretty close to your prices. I guestimate the smallest would go for about $60.00. Had this been a few days before The Visitation, I may have bought one anf fixed something special for Zia. Maybe next time, though I’d have to lie to her about the price. 😉
No black autumn truffle then?
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They didn’t have black, though they did have burgundy. They were much cheaper and sold for $1.58/gram. Online, they can be bought for $154.00 for 4 oz.