Late Spring is the season for black summer truffles from Italy and France. While still a luxury, these truffles are the most affordable type. The flavor is not as intense as some other truffles, but making the truffle the focus of a dish will accentuate and highlight its unique flavor and aroma.
Years ago, a good friend decided to buy a nice quantity of black summer truffles so we could treat our wives to a spectacular Mother’s Day feast with truffles in every course. We repeated this several times over the years, with one or the other of us taking the initiative to source and buy the truffles, and then the meal planning would ensue. The feast would indulge our desire to cook over the top dishes while treating these Mothers on their special day.
A perennial favorite in these truffle feasts would always be a pasta dish. Rich egg pasta made with truffles in the dough, served with a sauce containing more truffles, and then garnished with still more truffles. This dish will make the diner feel like royalty!
2-1/3 cups semolina flour for pasta
7 egg yolks
1 whole egg
2t olive oil
1/2t fine grained salt
0.75 oz. finely minced black summer truffle
water as needed
Measure the flour into a bowl. Make a well in the middle of the flour, and place the remaining ingredients in the well. Blend the dough, adding water as needed to make it come together in a ball. I usually need to add 2-3T water. Knead the dough until it is uniform and elastic. Wrap the ball of dough and refrigerate for a few hours or up to a day.
Allow the dough to return to room temperature. Cut into 8 even pieces. Spread some flour on the work surface. Using a pasta roller (I have the pasta roller attachment for the KitchenAid mixer), roll the pieces of dough until they are paper thin. Lightly coat the pieces with flour to keep them from sticking to each other. This dough will puff up when it is cooked, so go thinner than you may think you need. I take it to setting 5 or 6 on my roller. Cut the sheets of rolled out dough to the length you prefer; I like about 14″. Use the cutter attachment to cut the dough into thin spaghetti. Again, it will expand on cooking.
This is enough pasta for 8 servings.
Heat a pot of salted water while you prepare the sauce.
4T good butter (I used goat butter)
4T good olive oil
1 clove garlic minced
1 cup grape tomatoes cut in half
0.25 oz. thinly sliced black summer truffle
2T minced parsley
salt and pepper to taste
crème fraîche, caviar, and fresh truffle slices for garnish
Heat the butter and oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and sweat the garlic to soften; do not brown it. Reduce heat if needed. Add the tomatoes and cook until they just soften. Stir in the truffle slices and parsley, and briefly cook for no more than a minute. Remove from heat.
Now to assemble the dish. I find this best to make one serving at a time. Too much pasta in the pot at once makes it cook unevenly and makes it harder to portion.
To the boiling pot of salted water, add one serving of the truffled pasta. It will cook very fast, 1-2 minutes. The pasta will start to float when it is cooked. I have a big perforated scoop that gets the pasta out of the water and drains it in a hurry. It’s ok if a small amount of the cooking water comes with the pasta.
Immediately dress the pasta with a portion of the sauce. Toss a bit to combine and make sure all the pasta gets some sauce. Plate on a warmed dish.
Garnish with a dollops of crème fraîche and American Hackleback caviar, and fresh truffle slices. I added a fresh sage blossom from my herb garden to add some color and another reminder of Springtime.