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Preserved truffle from a Piemontese icon
The chance to eat fresh white truffles with great Barolo and Barbaresco is, of course, the main reason wine and food lovers visit Piemonte in autumn.
It’s an unbelievable experience, and most return home aching to recreate the truffle experience.
Unfortunately, the closest many of us get is poor-quality, badly stored truffle oils that rely on chemicals to mimic the haunting perfume.
But there is an alternative. In 2003, we used our contacts in Alba’s wine and food community to get introductions to the small firms that supply local restaurants with fresh truffles. We had heard that some of them preserve part of their harvest to make truffle purees, oils and butters, as well as handmade pasta.
We began working with a couple of them, eventually focusing on a single house, Inaudi. Our goal was to offer not only the finest truffle products but also the finest egg tagliolini to go with them. And Inaudi had both.
For us, Inaudi’s go-to truffle products are its three creams, consisting of finely ground truffle suspended in an olive oil base. Each is made from a different variety of Alba truffle:
Classic White Alba Truffles (Tuber Magnatum Pico) — The truffle that is coveted the world over. But due to skyrocketing demand, we’ve watched the price of anything made from Alba white truffles double over the past decade. Inaudi’s white truffle cream is the least expensive way to experience this miracle of nature.
Bianchetti Truffles (Tuber Albidum Pico) — As the name implies, these white truffles, which are also from around Alba, are smaller. On their own, they are not as perfumed as the larger, classic Alba truffles. But when served with a lot of fat (i.e. butter!) the flavor explodes, bringing the two truffles much closer together in taste and perfume.
Summer Black Truffles (Tuber Aestivum) — These grow throughout Europe, including in Piemonte. The least rare of the three types of truffle, they are a worthy substitute when served with plenty of butter on Inaudi’s egg tagliolini.
Inaudi finely grinds each of the three truffle types and then blends it into an olive oil base. Each jar contains a generous 72% of of the named truffle.
You can use these creams individually or in tandem. For example, when we use the summer black truffle cream we sometimes add a little of either of the white truffle creams. You can also combine them with Inaudi’s truffle butter (a small amount of black truffle in a butter base) or Inaudi’s truffle oil.
When using any of these with pasta, we make four recommendations.
First, their natural companion is a thin egg pasta, and if you had to choose just one, we would urge you to use Inaudi egg tagliolini. Produced in small lots, with 6 egg yolks per kilo of flour, these golden 1/16″ strands transcend virtually any prepared pasta you’ve had.
Second, don’t overcook the pasta. We recommend 3 to 4 minutes for Inaudi’s pasta—so that it is truly al dente.
Third, don’t skimp on the butter. We recommend a quarter pound of butter for each 8.8 oz. bag of pasta. This produces three to four generous servings.
Fourth, at the end, season to taste with coarsely ground salt to heighten the flavor even more.
As for the amount of truffle cream to use, that’s also according to taste. For one bag of Inaudi pasta, you should find that 15 to 30 grams of truffle cream will produce a dish of great richness and remarkable Alba truffle character.
Of course, these creams are very versatile and their uses are not limited to pasta. They can be used in any dish that calls for truffles, either cooked or uncooked. And they’re fantastic with eggs.
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