The black Perigord truffle was made funghi flesh, and it dwelt among us. Ding dong. Make way and open the door, as royalty does not deserve to wait. Truffles, particularly the famous black Perigord and white Alba, personify luxury. They are rare and primarily found only in the wild, tucked underneath European species of oak and hazelnut trees, deep in the tree roots like a submarine. If it were not for pigs and dogs, with the nose like a heat seeking missile, the precious and glorious truffles would remain hidden, and deprive the culinary landscape.
Truffles are best served simply, letting its natural tastes sit on a pedestal. The best vessels to serve any truffle, which should be thinly shaved, is with pasta, rice, potatoes or eggs. The French also take this luxurious item to further heighten, with its deep earthiness, rich sauces to serve over only the best of meats. Experiencing truffles is uniquely personal, as the smells and tastes of a truffle differ greatly from one person to the next. For one, it may resemble the bottom of a sweaty shoe and to another it may resemble the moss found on a rock next to a running creek. Serving the freshly shaved truffle, simply yet elegantly over pasta with butter, is one of the best (and easiest) dishes to deeply experience a personal connection with the black Perigord. This is holiday eating, for sure.
Ingredients (serves 4):
- 1 ounce black truffle (I buy through D’Artagnan) (keep refrigerated and use within days of receiving)
- 1 lb fettuccine or tagliatelle, preferably homemade
- 8 tablespoons butter, unsalted
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Salt and pepper
Bring a large pot of water up to a boil. Once boiling, season it aggressively with salt and a dash of olive oil. If you’re cooking with fresh pasta, the pasta will take minutes to cook. And if the pasta is dried pasta, it will take about 10 minutes to cook.
In a large sautee pan over medium-low heat, melt the butter with the olive oil. Once the pasta is cooked to al-dente, transfer the pasta directly to the sautee pan using your favorite pair of tongs. Make sure some of the starchy pasta water also makes into the melted butter and olive oil. Toss the pasta and ensure the noodles are gorgeously lathered in the butter mixture. Season the pasta with salt and pepper, and transfer the pasta to a serving bowl.
Using a truffle shaver or a mandolin on its smallest shaving setting, generously shave paper thin slices of the Perigord over the pasta. Don’t be skimpy! And then immediately dig in and enjoy the transcendent aromas and flavors.