Sunday, February 8, 2009

Lana and tagliatelle with truffles

This is a lagotto puppy. For those of you wondering why this dog belongs on a blog about food, trust me, there is a culinary connection. The lagotto is a breed that hails from Italy's Emilia-Romagna region, and was originally used as a hunter for water fowl. Today it is more commonly associated with truffle hunting.

I can't say my brother and sister-in-law had truffle hunting in mind when they got their very own lagotto yesterday. They just fell in love with the gentle temperament, curly hair and hypo-allergenic tendencies of the breed. The fact that lagotti (plural of lagotto) also originated in Italy, in the same region where my mother was born, made them even more appealing.

After months of waiting, Lana (Italian for wool) was ready for pickup in Connecticut yesterday. Fortunately, my house in New Jersey made a nice way station for them en route home to Pennsylvania, so I got to have a sneak peak at Lana before anybody else. And now you've seen her too. Isn't she adorable?

OK, Lana may never be a truffle-hunter here in the states. So I'm glad I've already tasted truffles, both in restaurants and in the home of people we know. That includes our friends Tony and Vanda, who own a beautiful second home in a small village in the region of Molise, where we were lucky enough to enjoy this wonderful pasta of tagliatelle and a generous helping of shaved truffles. Don't even think of topping with parmesan cheese or you'll blunt the fragrant aroma of the truffles.

The recipe is simple. Start with some fresh homemade pasta. Melt some butter or olive oil in a saucepan while the pasta is cooking. Drain the pasta, toss it in the butter or olive oil, and top with shaved truffles. That's it.
Yes, truffles are expensive and yes, they're hard to find in the states. But think of all the enjoyment you'd have received if you had invested in truffles instead of the stock market.


  1. Lana is SO cute although her cousin, Marcello, is a tad jealous :)
    This was such a great post Aunt Linda! I just love your creativity! I vote we buy a mountain home in Italy, move with Lana, and earn income from her truffle hunting!

  2. What a cute dog! I was able to buy a fresh truffle a few years ago, I did exactly what you mentioned; shaved it over fresh pasta!

  3. Hey Ciao Chow,
    Lana is DELICIOUS!!! What a beauty. Never heard of this breed, she looks like a Wheaten Terrier.
    I had tagliolini with truffle oil this weekend, out of this world.
    PS the Pa. town was Ambler!

  4. So true! Truffles are so good. I've only had them twice, and they were like ambrosia. Truffle oil is easier to find and almost equally good.

    Lana is adorable! She looks like a toy dog.

    Have a good week!'

    PS: I get yelled at by usherettes every time I take photos at the Met, but those costumes are so hard to resist! We sit way up in family circle, but we get there early and try to wander around the opera house as much as possible. I like to see the view from each tier.
    Next year we are going to try Saturday matinee series so we can go out to dinner afterward.

  5. Great blog! I love truffle season in Piedmont where white truffles are a regional specialty. Each restaurant shaves them tableside over rich eggy tajarin (local tagliolini).

  6. You could put all the doggie photos that you want and I'd still think it perfectly okay. So glad to finally "meet" Lana -- she is absolutely adorable!!!

  7. She's adorable and her name is very fitting.

    This is a great post. I love the way you tied it all together. What a great last line too.

    I went to a mushroom and truffle fair last October in Cingoli - never seen so many truffles in one place before - surprised there weren't any security guards.

  8. What a cutie Lana is. Did she at least get to stay for dinner?

  9. What an awesome pup! And I that dish looks sooo amazing... I can practically smell the truffles!

  10. Lana's such a cutie! and that pasta is to die for! So, so true about investing!

  11. Ouch, that stock market comment!!
    What a cutie-pie Lana is, love her name too.

    My little guy is Wilson, a Boston Terrier. Bred to be a companion, so no special hunting or gathering qualities.

    My favorite Oil company is now making White and Black Truffle Oil. La Tourangelle. Certainly not the same, but the next best thing to fresh.


  12. I have been wanting to try truffles.