Truffle Risotto

Dining date: 6/28/13

truffled risotto

Risotto is one of the rich, luxurious dishes associated with fine dining. The single most expensive dish I’ve ever eaten was a risotto, but it’s also something I’ve found to be fairly easy to make at home without costing a lot. I’ve definitely made my share of risotto dishes at home (my favorite thus far probably being this lobster risotto), and figured I’d make a truffled version (a classic pairing) when recently purchasing a fresh truffle.

This was my first time buying a fresh truffle, stumbling upon a black summer truffle at my local Japanese market. Unfortunately I couldn’t tell where it was from, but it looked/smelled as good as expected and the price was right…so I figured I’d buy it and give it a try.

Inspired by The French Laundry’s white truffle risotto, I sought out to duplicate Keller’s version at home, substituting my summer truffles for the white ones used in his recipe.

2 tablespoons canola oil
3 tablespoons minced onions
1 cup Carnaroli rice (Keller uses Acquerello, as I did here)
1 cup crisp white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc
4-4 1/2 cups hot chicken stock
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup whipped heavy cream
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
grated and shaved fresh truffle
kosher salt or truffle salt

Aside from the truffle substitution, there were a few other changes I made from his. First, I cut down on the butter and heavy cream (using 1/3 of his recommendation), feeling like I could get a creamy, rich consistency while not overloading on guilt. Second, Keller’s recipe is a two-part process involving par-cooking the rice, letting it cool in the refrigerator, and cooking again to finish. I basically made the above recipe into two batches; one batch was cooked continuously all the way, while the other was refrigerated for the next day. I can’t say I noticed a significant difference between the two. Lastly, I decided to grate fresh truffle into the risotto and just finish/garnish with the shavings, substituting out Keller’s use of truffle oil. I figured incorporating more of it into the actual dish would provide more of that truffle flavor I was looking for without having to use an oil.

Given the above ingredients, the process was similar to a typical risotto. Sweat aromatics, toast rice, add wine, add stock in ~1/2 cup increments, and repeat until rice is al dente.

cooking risotto

When the rice was pretty much done, it was removed from heat; this is when I finished off the dish by stirring in the butter and cream. The grated truffles and parmesan were also mixed in at this stage, letting the residual heat help incorporate everything together. Instead of just salt, I used a black truffle salt I had on hand, adding just enough salt to taste. Since the stock and cheese both already had salt, I thought it would be important to add salt at the end in order to avoid overseasoning. I figured using the truffle salt would help me further develop the truffle flavor I was looking for, rather than using plain salt.

grated truffle

Lastly, the risotto was plated and a few shavings of truffle topped it all off.

truffled risotto

risotto close-up

I was pretty happy how this turned out. Since I’ve made a number of risottos in the past, I was confident the rice part would turn out well. Adding a chunk of butter and cream, something I usually don’t do, helped to make the dish that much richer and creamier. I thought grating the truffles and incorporating it before plating was a good idea, adding the bulk of the flavor and ensuring a healthy dose of the earthiness in each bite. I’m not sure when I’ll buy another truffle, but this is definitely something I’d make again.


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