Recipe for Tartufata (Black truffle, mushroom and olive sauce)
This year I decided to start making truffle sauces or pastes that could be used for a snack or an appetizer. Something unusual to serve your friends with a glass of wine or with an aperitif. It would be a lot simpler to make a truffle pasta but I was looking for ways to make a little truffle go a long way and to serve to a large group of people.
For inspiration where better to start than with the large truffle companies? The big names like Urbani and Sabatino are experts at making truffled creams, pastes and spreads which have a lot of flavour and tiny amounts of any actual truffle (between 2-5%). I had a quick snoop around online and decided to recreate two sauces I found. My versions don’t use any artificial flavouring to enhance the truffle taste but they do contain more of the real thing. I used 50 grams of tuber aestivum (black summer truffle) and this made a deeply flavoured tartufata which was enough to top two to three baguettes.
When you have a mature black summer truffle, you have 2 choices, you can either cook it or keep it raw. Most good chefs are in agreement that to get the full flavour from a black truffle it should be cooked. I disagree but that’s because I like the raw flavour too, but I am not a chef.
Anyway, to settle the argument -for myself at least-I decided to make 2 sauces. In this recipe, the truffle is cooked. In the second sauce I used raw truffle ground and mixed with olive oil,salt and garlic.
The cooked truffle sauce is called tartufata or ‘truffled’ and here are the ingredients.
Mushrooms- around 150 g. I was hoping for some nice wild porcini but it wasn’t that kind of day and I ended up with button mushrooms from the supermarket.
50 grams of fresh black truffle
One clove of garlic
Three or four black olives.
A small sprig of rosemary (or some parsley)
Knob of butter/olive oil for sauteeing
Dice the mushrooms, finely chop the garlic and shave the truffles. Cut the olive flesh away from their pits. Heat some butter and olive oil and sautee the mushrooms fairly gently.
As they begin to become dry, add the truffles and then the garlic. Keep on a low heat for around 2-3 minutes.When everything has softened and smells wonderful, put a few olives into the mixture. Mushrooms and truffles are a safe combination and I wanted to introduce something else slightly more subversive into the recipe. Start with three olives and you can add more at the blending stage if you think the sauce needs something a bit more exciting.
Once the mixture has cooled, blend it in a food processor and adjust the seasoning. You might need to add some olive oil to loosen the paste. It should be of a spreadable consistency.
I originally made this as a topping for bruschetta, but since then I’ve found many uses for it – as a condiment with meats, on cheeseburgers, dotted on top of cooked pizza and served it with buttered cheesy baked potatoes. It makes everything delicious taste doubly delicious. Tartufata keeps in the fridge for at least a week but you’ll probably finish it long before that!