Some things are worth waiting for. Although preserved truffles are available year-round, nothing-absolutely nothing-is comparable to the aroma or flavor of fresh French black or white Italian truffles. A few years ago, Alex Padilla, a brilliant chef who spent many years with us, created this dish, which is not only unbelievably delicious but stunningly beautiful. Gossamer layers of fresh pasta encase shavings of fresh black truffles that, when rolled out, make the dish as beautiful to look at as it is to eat. It's fine to serve the dish with just the truffle pasta and the beurre fondue, but finely grating any "leftover" truffle over the pasta along with some Parmigiano-Reggiano makes the dish truly extraordinary.
Kitchen And Shopping Notes
While there are many kinds of truffles (as well as truffle products) available on the market today, for us black truffles from France and white truffles from Italy are always our first choice. In recent years, however, black Himalayan truffles have arrived on the scene, and every year they improve in size as well as in flavor. They are, without a doubt, a great value. There has also been a tremendous improvement in the quality of both black and white truffles from Oregon, the white ones in particular. While we do use them in certain dishes and encourage the producers who are trying to establish the American truffle market, we also regretfully do not consider them equal to their European counterparts.
The use of truffle oil by chefs has come under a lot of fire by truffle purists, perhaps because it has been used to excess and is a laboratory re-creation of the natural flavor and aroma of truffles. We prefer to think of truffle oil as perfume and use it in a diluted ratio of 6 parts olive oil to 1 part truffle oil to "help" those fresh truffles of any given year that seem a little short on flavor or aroma.
When you're using only a few ingredients, they must be absolutely the finest you can get your hands on. While the Parmesan cheese in this dish plays only a small role, it's not an insignificant one, so make sure you use authentic Parmigiano-Reggiano from Italy.
For The Black Truffle Pappardelle: Divide the pasta dough in half. Cover 1 piece with a clean kitchen towel or wrap in plastic to prevent it from drying out. With a pasta machine set on its widest roller setting, run the dough through once. Fold crosswise into thirds and run through once more. Continue feeding the dough through the rollers, decreasing the setting on each pass, until you get to the next to thinnest (number 2) setting. Lay the pasta on a cutting board and cut crosswise into 2 pieces. Thinly shave truffles
onto a plate. Brush 1 piece of pasta lightly with water and place shaved truffles (1/2 to
3/4 ounce) evenly over all. Top with the other piece of pasta and press together. Reset the pasta machine roller to a medium-wide setting (number 4), and feed the pasta back through again, making 2 passes per number until you get to the next to thinnest (number 2) setting. Roll up the pasta lengthwise (like a jellyroll) and cut crosswise into 11/4- to 11/2-inch-wide-strips. Toss with the semolina or flour, and place on a sheet pan. Repeat the process with the remaining dough and another 1/2 to 3/4 ounce of the truffle. It's important to note that you'll probably need to shave only 1 to 11/2 ounces of the truffle for the pasta. The rest should be reserved for grating over the finished dish.
For The Parmesan Beurre Fondue:
Bring the water to a simmer in a skillet. Whisk in the butter, a few pieces at a time, waiting until they're incorporated before adding more. Whisk in the cheese and strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl, then return to the skillet to keep warm. Season to taste with salt and pepper (though you probably won't need salt).
Bring an 8- to 10-quart pasta pot or stockpot of salted (2
to 3 tablespoons) water to a boil. Have a large warm bowl
near the stove. Add the pasta to the boiling water, stirring
to prevent sticking, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until
the pasta is tender with a little "tooth" (al dente). Drain
and transfer to the warm bowl. Add the beurre fondue and toss
to coat the pappardelle well. Divide the pasta among 4 warm
dinner plates or shallow soup bowls. Using a Microplane grater
(see Kitchen and Shopping Notes, page 60), grate the remaining
truffle in generous snowy mounds over all. Finish with another
grating of cheese.
Recipe from the
Boulevard Cookbook Buy it online