Monday, November 17, 2014

Risotto with White Truffles

Originally I was planning to make some pasta going with the piece of white truffles we got at the Fair in Alba, but the house didn't come with a pasta machine (plus I got a little lazy once we settled in), so instead, I bought some rice in the market and made a risotto instead one evening.

This is a recipe for the super easy version. The only key thing you need to remember is 1:4, which is the rice-liquid ratio I am sticking with. Taste as you go to make sure you didn't end up over or under cook your rice. Of course ideally one should use broth made at home from meat bones for 4 hours, but I often cheated by using store-bought ones, or worse, like I did this time, from a bouillon granule that I happened to find in the cupboard. "Do what you can" should be the motto for every home cook instead of sticking religiously to what the cookbook said.

Recipe: Mushroom Risotto with White Truffles (serves 4 as primo course)

1 cup of rice (this time I am using Carnaroli but you can also use Arborio which was equally suitable for risotto)
3.5 cup of meat broth (or vegetable broth, if you must)
0.5 cup of white wine
1-2 onions depending on size - skin removed and diced
1 loose cup of cep mushrooms - cleaned and sliced
0.5 cup of butter (or 1 stick)
0.5 cup of Grated Parmesan Cheese
Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
White Truffles (approx 5g per person)

1. Put olive oil into wide frying pan (non-stick is best) and put stove on medium heat.
2. Put onions into the pan and sauteed until onions were sweated and became translucent.
3. Pour rice in and let it fry for 1-2 minutes - make sure the pan wasn't too hot to burn the rice.
4. Put the white wine in and start stirring slowly to let the rice absorb the liquid.
5. Continue to put the broth into the rice gradually using a ladle. Keep stirring until the pan starts drying up with the liquid absorbed by the rice, before you put in another ladle of broth. Patience is key but be careful not burning the rice.
6. Some people insists keeping the broth warm while ladling it in so the rice won't be shocked with huge temperature difference, but I don't think it made a big difference. It's up to you. 
7. Midway through cooking the rice, on a separate pan, put 1/4 cup of butter in and sauteed the mushroom in medium heat until the mushrooms were softened and cooked.
8. Stir the sauteed mushroom (along with any oil/liquid in the pan) into the rice and continue cooking. The risotto should absorb some of the mushroom flavors.
9. When you are satisfied with the texture of the rice (it may need more or less broth than instructed), put the rest of the butter and the parmesan cheese into the rice and stir it in. Add salt and pepper to taste.
10. Serve the risotto in a deep dish and carefully shave thin pieces of white truffles on top of each individual dish.

Not a particular big size - just 50g we picked up at the Alba White Truffle Fair
Of course since we were at Alba at the peak white truffle season we were able to fetch the freshest right at the market. You could also use black truffles instead, especially when white ones were not in season. But since black truffles are better off with a bit of cooking, instead of shaving it on top, put some in the rice and stir after you put in the butter, so there's extra heat and time to release the black truffles aroma. Or the recipe works well as is without truffles. 

(This is the part of the Journey to Piedmont series, a writing project capturing our recent travel experiences to the region)


Nikita said...

Really love the "Do what you can motto" for cooking at home. Would loved more description on how it turned out/tasted—looks great! ~ Nikita, Brand Intern at

gary s said...

Oh thanks for reading. The risotto tasted good - I just found it a bit too cocky to comment on my own food. =) That's why I mostly just covered what I have done.