Food, Nutrition and Cooking


The Trouble with Truffles

The trouble with truffle oil is that it’s quite expensive; the good news is that just a small amount goes a long way on flavor. Use it sparingly because even a touch too much can overwhelm the flavor of your dish. Less is definitely more here.

Note: this dish is really best to serve immediately upon completion of cooking. The recipe will take ~ 30 minutes start to finish including prep.

Truffle Fries

2 lbs. white or yukon potatoes, peeled and cut in 1/4″ fries of any length (governed by size of potato)
1 T canola, vegetable, grapeseed or other neutral flavored oil
1.5 tsp truffle oil
1 T butter (salted butter is ok to use here, sweet butter also works)
1 clove garlic, minced or pressed through a garlic press
black pepper to taste
2 T chopped parsley

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Combine the 2 oils and toss fries in the mixture and lay out potatoes in a single layer on a baking sheet.
With the oven rack in the upper third of the oven but not too close to the broiler, bake fries ~ 5 minutes. Change from baking to broiling (up the temperature to 500+ degrees) and broil the fries for 10 minutes, then turn them and broil another 10 minutes (broiling 20 minutes total).
Meanwhile, melt the butter and the garlic together but do not brown either; add the black pepper to the garlic butter.
Remove fries from the oven, toss with the garlic butter, sprinkle with the chopped parsley and SERVE IMMEDIATELY.

Serves 4-5

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Perfect Pasta

All credit for this one goes to my fabulous friend and college roommate, Carol, who gave me this recipe when I asked her what she does with truffle oil. My suggestion is to buy the smallest bottle of truffle oil you can find because you only need a very little bit (and it’s pricey) but it’s the truffle oil that really finishes this dish perfectly. If you are lucky enough to have whole truffles, even better but not necessary. The range in amount of mushrooms, pasta and butter relate to each other and to how saucy you want the final product to be. Using olive oil and vegetable broth in place of butter and chicken broth will make this dish vegetarian but the flavor will be a bit different. This is one of the few savory dishes I find merits real butter. 

Pasta with Mushrooms and Truffle Oil

20-24 oz sliced mushrooms, any variety (my favorite – Baby Bellas)

1/2-1 stick lightly salted butter (can substitute olive oil but the dish will not be exactly the same)

1 large onion, sliced or chopped

3-4 cloves garlic (depending on size of cloves and your love of garlic), pressed

1/2 cup chicken broth (or vegetable broth if you prefer)

1/2 cup dry white wine such as chardonnay

salt and pepper to taste (as I recommend salted butter, be sure to taste before you add further salt)

1/2-1 lb. wide pasta such as fettuccine, pappardelle, preferably packaged as “nests”

1/2 tsp-1 tsp (at most!) truffle oil

1 truffle, sliced as thin as possible (optional)

chopped fresh arugula as a garnish (optional)

Melt butter in very large skillet (one large enough to hold the cooked pasta if you have one). Saute onions until they begin to caramelize. Add pressed garlic and saute for <1 minute more. Add sliced mushrooms and continue to cook until the mushrooms have given up all their liquid and begin to caramelize. 

Add wine and broth and lower heat. Cook until a good amount of liquid has evaporate and you are left with a saucy consistency. If you go too far and you no longer have a sauce, just add more wine and or broth. 

Meanwhile cook desired amount of pasta as package directs to “al dente”. Drain pasta and add to skillet combining sauce with pasta. Drizzle truffle oil on top. Garnish with sliced truffle and arugula if desired. If you have a bit of leftover veggies such as broccoli or peas you can throw those into the mix with the mushrooms towards the end of cooking the sauce. 

Serves 4-6 

Serve with an arugula (or other green) salad and crusty bread