Saturday, May 26, 2007

Truffles and Memory

As we wandered around the flower show yesterday, we encountered a vendor of truffle products (truffle butter, truffle-infused rice for risotto, etc.). Just as we passed by, he called out for everyone to gather round because a fresh box of truffles had just arrived from Italy. He invited us to smell it as he opened up the wooden box, removed the layers of cloth, and let the dark smell of luxury waft over the small crowd. It was the smell of earth and old castles and thoughts of umami. It reminded me of the lecture halls at Harvard and parmesan cheese and of one of my favorite recipes:

Fettuccine from Velli’s Restaurant (No Longer in Existence) on Houston Street

Dice up a quarter pound or so of prosciutto (or slice it into strips if you can’t get thick-cut) and saute it in some olive oil. Remove to large mixing bowl. Grate a ton of parmesan and keep in separate bowl. Cook pasta and drain. Add pasta to bowl of prosciutto and oil and then add parmesan on top and toss together until parm starts to melt. Drizzle truffle oil over to taste and stir together. Finish with a good amount of freshly cracked black pepper. Prepare to eat more pasta than you thought possible. (You can buy all the ingredients online at Buon Italia, which is where I used to shop in Chelsea Market.)

1 comment:

Patty said...

Sans the truffle oil (I know, shame on us) that recipe has been our New Year's Eve supper for years now.

90 degrees in Boston, so it doesn't sound at all appealing right now, but it's perfect in December!

Thanks for the olfactory memories. Those are the most powerful ones for me! The combo of spearmint Dentyne and pipe tobacco remind me so much of my Dad when I was a little girl. I've only smelled it once since then, on an elevator in downtown San Francisco, and since I was in my 20's and the gentleman was in his 50's or 60's, I was too uncomfortable to tell him about it...but I was completely transported!