Cooking with diamonds– risotto made with Istrian truffles
Father of gastronomy Jean Savarin once proclaimed the truffle the “diamond of the kitchen.”
I’m not sure if Savarin ever got around to visiting the Motovun forest in Croatia’s Istrian region, but I’m fairly certain he would have considered it paradise.
Situated along the Mirna River, dogs are specially trained to sniff out the underground gems in the Motovun forest. Yep, you heard correctly, they grow underground. How cool is that?
Being that truffles are a scarce commodity heavily sought after by the culinary connoisseurs of the world, they can be priced upwards of $1000 for just half a kilogram. In some instances rarer species (particularly the “big white truffles” also found in the Motoviun forest) can cost up to $5000 per kilo.
For this reason, there exists a moral obligation to indulge in truffle goodness when visiting Croatia.
In particular, if you’re visiting Istria during truffle season nearing the end of the year, consider yourself exceptionally lucky (perhaps take a truffle tour on my behalf). As for the rest of the year, truffle paste is rather easy to find at any given grocery store.
This recipe makes 3 servings.
What You’ll Need:
560 ml (2 ¼ cups) water
1 chicken bouillon cube
2 tbsps vegetable oil
½ small onion, diced
150 grams (¾ cup) Arborio rice
120 ml (½ cup) dry white wine
2 tbsps butter
15 grams (1/8 cup) grated parmesan
salt and pepper
2 tsps truffle paste
optional: shaved truffle for topping
1.In a saucepan, stir the bouillon cube into the water until dissolved. Place on the stove and turn to medium heat.
2.In a larger saucepan, heat the vegetable oil and sauté the onion until transparent. Add the rice, stirring constantly.
3.After a few minutes, the inner grains of rice will become visible. At this point, add the wine and continue to stir constantly.
4.When the wine is absorbed completely, use a ladle to add the heated chicken broth (the water with the bouillon cube). Add only one ladle-scoop at a time and wait for it to be absorbed before adding the next. Do this until all the chicken broth has been used. Stir slowly and constantly the whole time.
5.When all of the chicken broth has been added and absorbed, stir in the butter, parmesan, chives, and truffle paste. Stir thoroughly until the butter is melted and everything is incorporated. Add a pinch of salt and pepper.
6.Top with shaved truffles, and serve warm.