fettuccine al profumo di tartufo
It was a serendipitous discovery that started with the Stalinist State Store
system left over in the state of Pennsylvania from the days of Prohibition,
officially called the
Liquor Control Board (LCB). We've grumbled about it before. More than once. bob's
father-in-law barkev always liked to start dinner with a shot of Lebanese Arak mixed
with water and soon bob was a faithful drinking partner.
Arak is one of the many
Mediterranean anis flavored liqueurs, but decidedly less sweet than the Greek
ouzo which seems to find its way into the inventory of the LCB without
interruption and which is not an acceptable substitute. Arak on the other hand
had dropped off the LCB supply chain without
hope of recovery in the early years of the twenty first century, as explained by customer service. After being cutoff long
enough, Google was called in to remedy the situation. And it turns up an on-line
liquor store just across the border in NJ from bob's
hometown in rural NY, only
a 30 minute drive from the family house where booze shipments are not prohibited.
A case is ordered and delivered there within days. Later transferred illegally across
state lines into PA. That case eventually runs out. Still without hope of
finding Arak even down in MD at ani's sister's state which had delivered us Arak
faithfully up until the devastating Israeli war on Lebanon in 2006, we call up our NJ supplier
and he has two cases in his store in a few days. Free enterprise seems not to
have the same problems as the largest buyer of alcohol in the world in acquiring
what people want.
We go up to visit bob's mom for the weekend pickup and head off in a
mini-blizzard to conclude the deal. We survive the trip, but on the way back
home to mom's, we pass through Main Street
Warwick (the next town over) and spot
a number of restaurants including a Middle Eastern joint. We store this memory
for a future visit. The future visit arrives, so we google Warwick restaurants.
No Middle Eastern anything, but "Trattoria" catches bob's eye. He checks out the
menu. Hmm, sounds pretty interesting, authentic even. Worth a risk, even though
it is easy to be disappointed by "Italian" restaurants in America.
The four of us do a 6pm Saturday night test meal. No problem getting a
same day reservation in small towns it seems. bob goes for the fettuccine with the sexy
truffle name, ani the whole wheat pasta special
alla boscaiola (woodsman style, with porcini mushroom and tomato sauce).
Preceded by a pear, gorgonzola and arugula-fennel salad (bob) and grilled calamari with
arugula and fennel (ani). This stuff was all excellent, worthy of some of the
best BYOB Italians in philly. Mom and Chet seem to really like their orders too.
The 8 dollar pinot noirs times 3 plus a whisky sour jack up the price of course.
And our insistence on a 20 percent tip when Chet paid the bill. But it was well worth the expense.
Even if we would have paid ourselves. Which we didn't. Sometimes you have to
leave the privilege to others.
We'd had the truffle oil for a while but never seemed to know what to do with
it. This recipe turned out to be a great first application. We invited the
philly in-laws over for a special sleep-over Friday night dinner to repay them
for all the regular weekly freeloading we do at their dinner table. Everyone was
happy. Food. Family. Friends. They go together. Why not treat somebody special
in your life? This is a good place to start.
- 1 lb freshly made fettuccine [2 cups 00 pasta flour, 2 eggs, 1/4 c olive
oil, up to 4 T water in stand mixer]
- 12-16 oz asparagus
- 2 T white truffle oil
- 1 shallot, chopped finely
- 4 oz shitake mushrooms, stems removed, caps cleaned with a damp paper
towel, then chopped
- 1/4 c cream
- 1/3 c grated parmigiano
- salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1/3 c shaved parmigiano.
- Freshly made fettuccine really takes this dish to the next level, and it
is not that difficult to do if you have a Kitchen-Aid stand mixer with the
pasta roller attachments and dough hook as we do. We followed Lidia's fresh pasta
recipe, switching from the usual mixer attachment to the dough hook once the
ingredients were evenly mixed, hooking it about 7 minutes or so until ready
to let sit wrapped in plastic wrap for 30 minutes. Look up detailed
instructions if you attempt this. Practice helps. Just doing it once and
realizing it is not that hard is crucial. Then we worked the dough at the first
setting, and then ran it through successively until the setting 6 so it was
slightly transparent from being so thin. Roll each cut bunch of fettuccine
into a little bundle with some cornmeal sprinkled in it as you bundle to keep the
noodles from sticking, then put on a big cookie pan bunch by bunch and cover
with a towel. Or just use high quality imported Italian dried fettuccine. Or
fresh pasta if you can buy it, but it won't be as thin and delicate as you
can do yourself.
- Cook the cleaned asparagus a few minutes but then remove from heat and
put into ice water to stop the cooking and keep it crisp. When cool cut
diagonally into long thin shavings up to the tip, leaving them intact. Set
- In a 4 qt chef's pan or similar pot that can also hold the pasta later, sauté the shallot in
the truffle oil until softened, then add in the mushrooms and sauté them a
few minutes, then add the asparagus and heat through, then add in the cream,
maybe even a little more than 1/4 c (or add in a bit of pasta water at the
combination stage). Cover and set aside.
- Depending on your other dishes (we did pan seared dry scallops with truffled
balsamic glaze and a salad), boil the pasta so you can serve it
immediately when it is cooked al dente. This goes pretty quick with this
delicate homemade fettuccine.
- Drain the pasta and dump into the pot/pan with the sauce over low heat
and combine with the grated parmigiano and salt and pepper. Remove from the
- Sprinkle some shaved parmigiano over each individual serving.
- Trattoria Viviano Dinner Menu January 2010:
Fettuccini al Profumo di Tartuffo | Fettuccini, Asparagus,
Shitake Mushrooms, Truffle Oil and Slivered Parmigiano 18 .
There were a few spelling glitches in the menu, but the products we tasted
were excellent. What's a few mispellings, anyway?
- Greenwood Lake Wines dot
com. Although went you pull up in your car, it says Greenwood Lake
Discount Liquors on the store sign. Thanks, Jim.
Lidia's Family Table. Type 00 flour might be available at Italian
specialty stores but we got a
King Arthur Americanized version : Italian style flour. It is ideal for
We got the pasta roller attachment set for our Kitchen-Aid stand mixer when
our transformer for the Italian electric motor for the traditional hand
roller pasta machine got fried by a French raclette dinner at our friends.
But we only used the set for thinning lasagna until we did an evening
workshop at Williams-Sonoma and realized it was pretty easy to do fresh
pasta from scratch. Seared Sea Scallops with Chipotle Cream Alfredo Pasta
Sauce was the learning vehicle, which we repeated a few times. Hence our
association of scallops with fresh fettuccine.
Monini Tartufo Bianco, condimento a base di olio extra vergine di oliva
aromatizzato. White truffle oil.
Given to us by Gabriella of Torre de' Passeri near Pescara, Italy
not far from which the internationally known De Cecco
pasta company has its headquarters. Her son is the US rep in NYC
for importing their products into the USA, so she has an in with De Cecco
stuff which she generously gifted us with two summers in a row. Her neighbor
is the mom of our dear friend Fede; Luisa had introduced herself to us by creating a
truly magnificent Abruzzese feast at their Montesilvano home next door to
Pescara. Food, family, friendship, Italian
- Illustrations available.