In 2007, Casino tycoon Stanley Ho purchased a 3.3 pound white truffle mushroom from Tuscany for a whopping US $330,000 at an auction in Hong Kong. With this in mind, I would like to showcase both the devil and the angel constantly lurking on my shoulders when it comes to whipping up something new and exciting in my kitchen. The first part of me tricks myself into suddenly ‘needing’ a year’s supply of agave after seeing the ingredient in a single recipe, and the second part of me that knows cooking on a budget can be just as delicious as, well, a truffle that costs about the same as my childhood home. So, who to listen to? Instead of offering words of wisdom from my wallet (or from my foodie heart), I’m going to make sure you’re just as well prepared to spend, as you are to save – and more importantly, that you’ll be able impress yourself either way.
Truffles for the Spender:
Maccheroncini alla Boscaiuola (literally translates to “pasta in the style of the wood-cutter’s wife”)
1 handful of dried Italian porcini
2 tablespoons vegan butter (I recommend Earth Balance)
2 cups vegan cream
1 pound macaroni pasta
1 fresh white truffle, sliced
1 ½ cups grated vegan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Soak dried porcini for 20 minutes in warm water, squeeze dry. Put soaking water aside.
2. Heat butter until melted, add porcini and cook until golden.
3. Stir in cream and ¼ cup of mushroom soaked water. Cool until mixture thickens.
4. Cook pasta in boiling water until al dente.
5. Drain pasta and add to sauce. Add truffle and cheese, toss over low heat.
6. Add salt and pepper to taste, serve immediately.
Truffles for The Rest of Us:
Simple Truffle Pizza
1 cup wild mushrooms
1/2 onion, sliced
2 red peppers, sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp sundried tomatoes
Italian seasoning: salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, oregano, thyme, rosemary
Truffle oil (a much less expensive alternative to the mushroom itself)
1. Saute a mix of wild mushrooms, ½ an onion, red peppers, garlic, and sundried tomatoes. Mix with a splash of white wine, and a sprinkle generously with Italian seasoning.
2. Splash truffle oil and a pinch of salt and pepper onto pizza dough, add sautéed vegetables, and bake at 450 degrees for 8 to 9 minutes.
3. Finish with a touch more of truffle oil and truffle salt.
4. Add toppings to pizza dough, and bake for approximately 15 minutes at 425°.