Treat Yourself to Some Truffles
By Terry Baxter, Member Since 2002
Would you pay extra for what looks like a lumpy potato, but actually is the fruiting body of a subterranean ascomycete fungus? Well, millions of food fans do, and thanks to Chef Betania of Gianni, you can give it a go. She has a rare supply of black truffles from Perigord, and the more prized white truffles from Alba. Gourmands call them the “diamonds of the kitchen” and “fairy apples.”
The season for white truffles is shorter (sometimes only weeks) but for me the earthy, umami taste is a moment that lasts all year. Gianni’s new menu of everyday specials has at least one dish perfect for truffles – this week was Cacio & Peppe: thin spaghetti pasta, pecorino Romano, black peppercorn, fresh Alba white truffle or Burgundy black truffle. Chef Betania hopes to have a special truffle dish every week through December and January.
Cognoscenti recommend simple dishes of pasta with butter sauce to fully appreciate white truffles (another favorite pairing is scrambled eggs with black truffles, but not at Gianni). My dinner partners Gary and Marilyn List observed proper tradition with buttered spaghetti generously covered with grated white truffle. They silently beamed with pleasure the rest of the meal, while conversation diminished to occasional gratified moans. Fair Patricia chided me for the heathen that I am, but I couldn’t resist one of my favorites from the regular menu – cheese raviolini with pink sauce and stracciatella (the creamy center of burrata), and to THAT I added some white truffles. Don’t tell Chef Betania. But I loved it.
The everyday special menu will offer truffles as long as they last. Or, if you have a touch of the heathen, you can add truffles, white or black, to any of the pasta dishes on the regular menu, but hurry, fungus waits for no one. Bon Appetite.