A classic Black truffle risotto is one of the best ways to enjoy fresh white or black truffles. Nothing more than a simple white risotto with cheese and butter with a pile of truffles on top, it's also one of the easiest risotti to make. It's the perfect thing to make if you're new to cooking with truffles and don't want to mess them up. Here's what you need to know.
What Is Black Truffle Risotto?
Black truffle risotto is a simple white risotto with truffles added. It's made by gradually cooking risotto rice with mild stock or broth. When the rice is done, butter and cheese is added. The truffles are are added to the rice at the very end of cooking or shaved over the top, raw.
The truffles could be fresh, in the form of a compound butter, or in another form like oil or paste. As this a rich risotto, it's often served in smaller amounts compared to other risottos that can be large enough to be a meal. It's a common dish to see on Italian tasting menus during truffle season.
Truffle Butter vs Truffle Oil
You might wonder if you can use truffle infused oils or butters for this recipe. Either can be used, but they can be very different products.
Truffle butter is made with fresh truffles. Truffle oil is often very strong like perfume and often made with synthetic compounds.
In a perfect world this recipe is made with fresh truffles or truffle paste. Canned truffles or truffle slices in oil are usually flavorless.
Any truffle can be used to make risotto, but some are better than others. As the saying goes, you get what you pay for. Black Perigord truffles (Tuber melanosporum) and Alba white truffles (Tuber magnatum-pico) are two of the best you can get but they're also the most expensive.
Here's a list of interesting, cheaper fresh truffles you can use for risotto you may not have heard of:
- Musky Truffles (Tuber brumale)
- Bagnoli Black Truffle (Tuber mesentericum)
- Summer Truffles (Tuber aestivum)
- Pecan Truffles (Tuber lyonii)
- Oregon Black Truffles (Tuber oregonese)
Many of these can be ordered online. I buy truffles from my friend Mushroom Mike LLC, but Trufflecart.com and West Coast Wild Foods have worked too.
How to Make Black Truffle Risotto
As it is basically a white risotto with truffles on top this is a very easy risotto to make. It starts out as any other risotto, with a small amount of onion cooked before the rice is added. The images below describe the process.
- Risotto is always served flat in the bowl, never mounded in a pile. This is to ensure every bite of risotto is juicy. Mounding risotto in a pile is a lazy American habit that my Italian chef friends make fun of. The technical term for this is al'onda, or sull'onda. Roughly translated to mean on the wave, it refers to how the risotto should jiggle in the bowl.
- Despite what some may say, truffles should never be stored with rice. Rice doesn't contain fat to capture truffle aroma and it will dry the truffles out, ruining them.
- Slicing a clove of garlic before cutting the truffle adds a special aroma. A good tip for working with truffles I learned from Chef Jean Louis Palladin.
- Pre-cooking risotto helps to save time.
More Things to Make with Truffles
Black Truffle Risotto
- 1 3 quart sauce pot
- 1 wooden spoon
- 1 tablespoon Light olive oil or unsalted butter
- 2 oz Yellow onion 1 small onion
- 1 cup Carnaroli rice or Arborio rice
- 4 tablespoons Truffle butter 2oz at room temperature, or substitute unsalted butter
- ½ cup Dry white wine
- 4 cups Chicken stock mix it 50/50 with water
- 10-28 grams Fresh black truffle plus more for serving
- 1 Small clove garlic for slicing the truffle, optional
- ½ cup Grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese or Grana Padano or your favorite parmesan cheese, at room temperature
- 1 tsp black truffle oil optional
- In a 3 quart saucepot on medium heat, cook the onion and tablespoon of butter until the onion is translucent. Do not allow the bottom of the pan to color during the entire cooking process.
- Add the rice and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add the wine and cook until evaporated, then begin adding the stock in ⅓-1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly.
- Continue adding stock a ladle at a time, waiting until it's completely absorbed before adding more.
- Rub a paring knife with a cut clove of garlic. Thinly slice the fresh truffle and separate into two piles. Finely chop one of the piles.
- When the rice is tender and tastes good to you, add the butter and parmesan. Turn the heat off the pan and beat the butter and cheese in with a wooden spoon.
- It's important the risotto is loose and juicy, adjust the consistency with a splash of hot chicken stock if it seems too thick.
- Add the chopped fresh truffle.
- Double check the seasoning for salt and adjust as needed until it tastes good to you. If you must add truffle oil, add it now.
- Divide the risotto evenly between 4 heated serving bowls, garnish with as much extra sliced or julienned black truffle as you can and serve immediately.