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When one thinks of truffles and Italy, it’s often Piedmont and Umbria that comes to mind. But they’re not the only regions in Italy to play host to truffles. Black truffles can also be found out in the Lazio countryside outside Rome, hidden beneath the trees, ready to be dug up and discovered.
A truffle hunt is a real treat, and it’s just one part of our very special truffle week at La Cucina Romana in the Sabine Hills. The week is an amazing time to visit Italy. The crowds have left, the weather is milder, and truffle season has arrived. Guests will not only go on the hunt for truffles (with the help of truffle hunting dogs), they’ll learn the differences between various truffles, as well as how to cook with them.
One fabulous dish from Chef Barbara, who leads all the cooking classes, is her black truffle risotto, which just may be on the menu during your Italy cooking vacation. Before heading overseas try your hand at the dish — if you can get your hands on the black truffles stateside!
Serves: 4 to 6
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Cook method: Simmer
1. Finely grate about two-thirds of the truffles into a small bowl.
2. Set aside the remaining truffle to shave over the dish later (make sure to leave enough for this step).
3. Grate the cheese into the same bowl as the truffles.
4. Stir the butter in with the truffles and cheese to combine. Set aside as you begin to make the risotto.
5. Bring the broth to a gentle boil and lower the heat to keep it warm on a burner.
6. Heat 1 to 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a sturdy pot for making the risotto.
7. Add the onion, saute on medium heat until they soften, about 5 minutes.
8. Add the garlic, saute for another minute or two.
9. Pour in the rice, and stir to get it coated with the onions and oil.
10. Cook the rice for about one minute, then stir in the wine. Stir frequently, and cook until the wine is pretty well absorbed.
11. Once the wine is absorbed, begin gradually adding the stock to the pot. Add one cup, stirring frequently. The chef recommends keeping it at medium heat, just below a boil.
12. When the first cup of broth is absorbed, add another. Continues until the stock is used or mostly used, and the rice is getting tender. Stir frequently… this should take 20 to 30 minutes.
13. After the stock has been absorbed and the rice is tender but al dente, gently stir in the truffle cheese mixture, and add the extra tablespoon of oil to help it all come together nicely.
14. Plate the risotto, and top with super thinly sliced shavings of truffle.
Interested in more risotto recipes? Try this Portuguese recipe for chicken with green asparagus risotto, or more Italian recipes for risotto from the Veneto, Carnaroli risotto with shrimp bisque, and risotto al chianti classico.
By Liz Hall
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