I’ve been meaning to try cooking with truffles for a while. As Istria is known for its truffles, and I’m not sure that I can justify hot-footing it down there simply to indulgence my extravagance, I decided to seize the opportunity and buy the subtle black type here in Zadar. It’s sliced and preserved in virgin olive oil and salt, and I’m hoping I can inch it past its seven-day use-by date (once opened). Because, next weekend, I want to see how it fares with the Croatian pinot noir I’ve bought. Or, I may just step up to an unpreserved whole black or even braver (because of the apparent strength of its flavour), white truffle instead. Apparently, there are wild truffles here in Zadar too, though they are not as abundant as in Istria. I’ll have to keep my eyes peeled.
Anyway, here’s my dish.
Cook the spaghetti in a cube of good chicken stock, about half a teaspoon of the truffle with its preserved olive oil, or virgin olive oil separately; a little butter, some red chilli powder (I haven’t been able to find fresh chilli here in Zadar – yet). I’ve also added some dried basil and towards the end of cooking, a green vegetable called Blitva, which tastes somewhere between greens and spinach.
Towards the end of cooking the pasta, in a separate pan I’ve tossed some pine nuts, thinly sliced garlic (according to taste), a small amount of the truffle and olive oil, a little butter, dash of white wine (I’ve used a delicious local version today), a sprinkle of water (to mop up the juices), and gently pan fry all together for a couple of minutes or until the pine nuts are just golden.
Then, I’ve drained the pasta leaving some of its water/sauce, and turned it into the pan with the pine nuts and other ingredients. Turn off the heat and stir fry for a few seconds. Serve up with some parmesan cheese and black pepper et voila, it’s good to go (although I probably overdid it with the parmesan as photo suggests!).
I can’t imagine that foodies will be disappointed with what Croatia has to offer. For more information about Istrian truffles check out this website – Prodan Tartufi