In the spirit of the Holidays, I like to make at least one uber-indulgent dish to share with family and friends. This year’s dish is a risotto made with one of the world’s most exotic and luxurious ingredients: the white truffle. For recipe and instructions…
Truffles are exotic mushrooms that grow underground and require specially trained dogs and pigs to help find them. They come in two basic varieties (white and black), and the best ones are usually found in Italy and France. They are prized for their rarity, as well as their distinct and intense aromas and flavors. Because of their rarity and cost (Up to $2700(!!)/lb.), chefs have been known to store them in safes.
Don’t let the price of truffles dissuade you from this luxurious dish, however. There are several ways you can make it on the cheap. Let’s first talk about the most important ingredient; the truffle flavor.
For my recipe, I used the Grazioli White Truffle Cream from AG Ferrari. At $84.99 for 1.4 oz., it’s not the cheapest solution, but cheaper than a fresh truffle while offering the same rich flavor.
Another fantastic solution is truffle butter, which is often made from black truffles. This is probably the best solution for those looking to make the dish with minimal expense.
Another solution is to use truffle-infused cheese. I once used a sheep’s milk cheese called “Cacio di Bosco al Tartufo”, which can be found in specialty stores. Using this will replace the need for Parmigiano-Reggiano.
Alright! Once you’ve sourced your truffle flavor, let’s get started!
- Arborio Rice
- Chicken Stock (or broth)
- Truffles or truffle butter or truffle cheese
- Heavy cream
- Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padano cheese
- Dry white wine (I use Babich Sauvignon Blanc)
Making good risotto is a fairly labor-intensive endeavor, but well worth it.
First, cut up a medium-sized onion into inch-long strips. Add them to a large pot (dutch oven size). Add some butter to the pot and simmer until the onions are translucent. Stir occasionally.
Add your chicken stock or broth to another large pot, and heat. You’ll need about triple the broth for the rice. So, one cup of rice requires about 3 cups of broth.
Grate about an 1/8th of a cup of Grana Padano or Parmigiano Reggiano cheese for every cup of rice that you use. Use more if you love Parmigiano, less if you don’t. If you’re using truffle cheese, skip the Parmigiano, but use more of the truffle cheese. If you’re using truffle butter, use less.
Next, add your arborio rice to the pot with the onions, and toast for a minute or two. Stir it constantly. The quantity of rice you use will depend on how much you want to make. The rice will roughly quadruple in size by the time the risotto is done. So, one cup of rice will yield roughly 4 cups of risotto.
Next, add about a half cup of white wine to the rice for every cup of rice. Stir constantly.
Once about half the wine is absorbed by the rice, use a ladle to add your warm chicken broth to the rice. Do this 1-2 scoops of broth at a time. Stir constantly.
As the broth is absorbed by the rice, add more. Taste the rice occasionally to get a sense for how done it is. You want the rice to be “al dente” or soft on the outside, and a little harder on the inside.
When the rice is nearly done, you’ll notice that much of the starch from the rice has been released, creating a rich, thick and creamy concoction. The rice will be mostly soft, with a tiny bit of hardness in the center. This is when the risotto “base” is ready.
Next, add about a 1/8th of a cup of heavy cream for every cup of rice. Drop a few small chunks of butter into the risotto, and stir.
Next, add your cheese, and stir into the risotto for a minute or two.
Finally, add your truffle flavor to the risotto. In the case of my risotto, I use about 1/3rd of the tube of the Grazioli truffle cream for every 2 cups of rice. Turn off the stove, and stir until well incorporated.
Serve, and enjoy! Garnish with Parmiggiano Reggiano cheese.
I brought some of this risotto into the Bebe au Lait office, and it was a hit! Happy Holidays, and bon appetit!
With risotto, it is essential to stir constantly, otherwise the starch will not be released as completely, and the risotto will be less creamy.
Don’t allow the risotto to boil. A low-medium temperate is ideal.
Don’t always trust exact measurements with risotto. I have found that its best to trust your own judgement. The risotto is done not when you have used up all of the broth, but when the rice is slightly past the “al dente” stage.
If you run out of broth, you can always use water, but add a little more cheese or truffle flavor to make up for the lost flavor.