Monday, October 19, 2009

Pappardelle With Mushrooms and Truffle Cream Sauce

October 2009 193

It’s truffle season. White truffles, grown in Italy’s Piedmont region, are the most highly prized among connoisseurs – and naturally they come with a hefty price tag. On Nov. 8, 2009, the 11th annual white truffle auction will take place in the castle of Grinzane Cavour, near Alba.

Grinzane Cavour castleLast year, the top price came from someone in Tokyo, Japan who bid 24,000 euros ($35,700) for a truffle weighing 850 grams (a little less than 2 lbs.) In total, 118,000 euros ($176,000) was raised, all of which went to charity.

You can rightly assume we were not among the bidders, although we did have the good fortune to visit the castle a few years ago. While you may not be rushing to spend a princely sum on a pound of white truffles either, here’s an alternative that won’t leave you broke.  It’s not the same as eating fresh truffles, but when you have to choose between mortgaging the house or one of the prized tubers, why not try some truffle cream, truffle oil or truffle honey instead?

Gourmet Attitude, a company that imports fresh, preserved and frozen truffles to some of the toniest restaurants in the country (think French Laundry and Le Bernardin), recently launched a new line of truffle delicacies under the name “La Boutique de la Truffe.”  When they offered to send me some, I naturally said “yes” (in the name of furthering research for all you readers, mind you).

I added their truffle cream to a dish of freshly made pappardelle and wild mushrooms – photo above. 

I poured their white truffle oil over mashed potatoes and chives.

Sept. 2009 236 And I drizzled the truffle honey over a cracker spread with goat cheese.

October 2009 025All of the products had the pungent, aromatic flavor of truffles, even though they contain only a tiny portion of real truffles. We thought the honey and the oil had the strongest truffle flavor out of the three, but our favorite was the truffle cream. It had a faintly garlicky flavor, in addition to a musky, earthy taste. 

Maybe we were unduly influenced by the combination of the trio of mushrooms and homemade pappardelle that also contributed to our overall enjoyment of the dish. I have to admit, we would have loved the pasta even without the truffle cream. 

But should you find yourself with some truffle cream, try making this pasta sauce. If you don’t have the time or inclination to make home-made pasta, just make sure you buy a really good brand of pappardelle. But if you’re up for the challenge, I’ll be writing a how-to for homemade pasta in an upcoming post.

October 2009 188

Pasta With Mushroom and Truffle Cream Sauce

Printable Recipe Here

This makes enough for four good-sized pasta portions

2 T. olive oil and 1 T. butter

1 large shallot, minced finely

1 clove garlic, minced

1 lb. mushrooms  (I used a combination of shitake, baby portabellas and oyster mushrooms)

1/2 cup chicken broth

1 cup cream

1/2 cup milk

salt, white pepper to taste

a few grindings of freshly ground nutmeg

a small bunch of fresh sage leaves

4 T. truffle cream

minced parsley

parmesan cheese, optional

Place olive oil and butter in sauce pan and add the shallot. Sauté until wilted, then add the garlic and sauté for a minute or two. Slice the mushrooms and add to the pan, sautéing them until cooked through. Add the chicken broth, cream, milk and the bunch of sage leaves. Grind some fresh nutmeg into the pan. Let it come to a boil, then lower the heat to a brisk simmer and reduce until it has a velvety consistency. Remove the sage leaves. Whisk in four tablespoons of truffle cream. Pour the sauce over the pasta.  Sprinkle with minced parsley.

There are two schools of thought on whether to add parmesan cheese. In Italy, you would never be served parmesan cheese with most fish dishes (there are some exceptions).  Likewise, adding parmesan cheese to a dish with such pronounced flavors like truffles or wild mushrooms is also considered near-heresy. Follow your own palate, but try it first without the cheese and then decide.


  1. I have only one thing to say.


    Seriously. Incredible. Wow. Wow. Wow. Can I come over for dinner?

  2. I have 2 bottles of truffle oil, white and black.....I never know what to do with them!
    I drizzle them on eggs when I remember!
    I love the potatoes! Beautiful pasta dish!

  3. WOW your post is making my mouth water! I've had the truffle honey and it's out of this world. I definitely want to try the truffle cream!!!

  4. Ohh I so want this pasta. I think my brain just exploded.

    I was stopping by to tell you I love your earrings so much I wore them in my headshot for my blog and my daughter has been trying to steal them from me!!


  5. The pappardelle looks amazing! I will have to keep an eye out for some truffle honey. It sounds delicious.

  6. *Oh my* Your pappardelle with mushrooms looks absolutely to die for! I can't wait to see your homemade pasta post. I have the KitchenAid pasta attachment but haven't used it yet.

  7. OMGoodness, I'm in truffle heaven! I have to say that honey looks amazing, but then so does the potatoes and pasta dish too! Oh my!!

  8. You didn't bid??? This is a slice of truffle heaven. I used truffle oil in my cooking - but never have tries truffle cream - or truffle honey. They will go on my wish-list for the holidays! So autumn, rich (in all ways) and comforting - everything an autumn pasta meal should be!

  9. I wouldn't be without truffle oil! I use it in my risotto all the time. I never heard of truffle honey, however...that sounds like an unusual flavor combination which I'd be curious to try,

    I adore mushrooms of all kinds and combined with a truffle cream sauce and home made pappardelle, it looks like heaven!

  10. You must have a very happy family, eating all this great food.

    And Italy, ever Italy!!!


  11. Linda, I am so glad you found me through Stacey! This dish is making me drool even though I am full from dinner. I have never heard of truffle cream, but there is a tiny shop at our Pike Place Market that sells all things truffle - I am going to check it out. yum!

  12. The pappardelle look so delicious! In the hills near my hometown there's an annual fair for truffles (and mushrooms as well) last time we visited it it was 3 years ago,

  13. My favorite thing in the world to eat is pasta with mushrooms, cream, and truffles in some form. This looks delightful!

  14. I've never cooked with truffle oil...I'm going to have to change that! this dish looks absolutely wonderful!!

  15. Wish we could smell the wonderful truffles through the screen---will have to settle for your beautiful photos instead.

  16. Beautiful pasta dish! When I lived in Piemonte, I had the pleasure of eating fresh truffles, shaved over pasta. I've never seen truffle honey; what else would you suggest it with? Any ideas from Gourmet Attitude?

  17. This dish looks amazing. I have a bottle of truffle oil and have not had a recipe which calls for it. This sounds perfect! Thanks for sharing. ; )

  18. Great dishes! I can't decide which I would like to eat first. I think I'll start with the pasta. It looks so comforting!

  19. MMMM..had to come back for another look at this dish!

  20. one of my all-time favorites. Just the sight of a porcini makes my knees buckle.:)

  21. We were fortunate to receive some of the Gourmet Attitude truffle products too. They are awesome. Love your pairing the truffle cream with mushrooms and pasta.

  22. That looks amazing! But I have no idea what truffles taste like. I might have to track down some truffle oil!

  23. I want mushroom pasta for lunch. There, it's settled.

  24. Your recipe is very inspiring. I have a small bottle of truffle paste at home and some fresh mushrooms. I hope to make my own fresh pasta one day soon. Also your dish reminds me my summer vacation in Tuscany : )

  25. Wanted you to know that we tried your pasta and loved it for its incredible flavor and simplicity. Of course, your web page makes it that much more appetising and tempting to give the recipe a shot.

    It is now a regular in our kitchen.

    Thank you very much for sharing!