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How To Cook With Truffles

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How To Cook With Truffles: The Complete Guide

Are you a five-star chef looking to boost your portfolio of five-star dishes with truffles? Or perhaps you’re just a home-cooking foodie with an interest in trying something new? 

Either way, we’ve got the guide for you — keep reading, and we’ll teach you how you can cook with truffles at home or anywhere else.

Truffle Basics

To begin, let us review truffles in general to get a stronger sense of what it means to cook with truffles. Here is some basic truffle information:

  • Truffles are fungi like mushrooms, but they differ from mushrooms in how they taste and grow. 
  • Truffles are quite rare because they are subterranean and difficult to find, nestled deep among tree roots. 
  • Because of this rarity, truffles are considered a delicacy and are highly sought after.
  • They’re known for their unique, fragrant aromas and deep, umami flavors.

Now that you’ve gotten a run-down of the truffle basics, let’s discuss how you can cook with truffles.

Truffle as a Garnish

One of the most common ways truffle flavor is added to meals is by grating them directly on top of dishes as a topping and edible garnish.

When restaurants or home cooks use truffles as a garnish, it’s done usually by grating raw truffles with a microplane grater on top of a dish.

You can often find these truffle-topped dishes when dining out at luxury restaurants. Dishes that are commonly topped with truffle shavings include cuts of red meats as well as high-quality seafood dishes, a variety of pastas, potatoes in all variations, and a surprising number of desserts. Many desserts can include truffles within their recipes as well.

Truffles as a Base for Recipes

Chefs can integrate truffles into many dishes by cooking them in various ways. Depending on the dish, chefs might cut truffles into smaller pieces or blend the truffles before cooking them within the dish they’re making.

One example of this is the creation of truffle butter, which can be used as a base for other dishes chefs are seeking to add that truffle taste to. Truffle butter can be made by blending or slicing small pieces of truffle to add to the butter. 

However, truffle butter is not the only way to incorporate truffles in your recipes. You can cut up truffles and cook them into whatever your heart desires such as pasta, soup, stir-fry, or anything in between. Think of truffles like mushrooms, just more luxurious.

Truffle Pasta

One of the most popular ways truffles are used is in truffle pasta. Pasta made with truffle ingredients comes in many shapes and forms. When cooking pasta dishes with truffles, they can be cooked within a dish, used as a garnish, or incorporated as a truffle oil to top a dish.

For instance, our Pork, Broccoli Rabe, and Pecorino Meatballs recipe utilizes truffles right in the sauce, specifically our Black Truffle Pomodoro sauce. The truffles add a deep richness that perfectly complements the freshness of the tomatoes and the tenderness of the pork.

You can also try using our White Hotter Sauce to create a Creamy Sausage & Sage Pasta for luxurious flavor. These recipes show how diverse truffle pasta can be while still being easy to create in your own home.

Plus, in these recipes truffles are already incorporated into the sauce, making them easier to achieve.

Truffle Desserts

Another way truffles can be eaten that is less commonly known is within desserts. By blending up truffles or using ingredients like truffle oil, you can create desserts that mix the unique umami truffle flavor with sweetness. Examples of this include truffle ice creams, cakes, and chocolate desserts. 

It’s worth noting, however, that the popular desserts known as chocolate truffles are, in fact, not real truffles nor do they include any truffle ingredients. They could be made with truffle oil or truffle flavors if someone was truly interested in testing that theory. However, for the time being, they’re just chocolate snacks made to look like truffles.

Truffle Oil

Truffle oil is the perfect way to season your dishes with truffles and add authentic truffle flavoring. However, for someone unfamiliar to cooking with truffles and/or truffle oil, it’s important to understand that not all truffle oils are authentically made with truffles.

Many companies synthetically produce truffle oils using a chemical compound to mimic the flavor of the truffle. This is because truffles are high-class and often expensive, so sometimes, it’s simply easier to produce synthetic truffle oil without the trouble of using real truffles.

However, there are also companies that produce authentic truffle oil using real truffles rather than chemicals, like our team here at TRUFF. Take our Black Truffle Oil, which uses real, fresh truffles to create a true truffle flavor.

Distinguishing Between the Types of Truffles

If you really want to learn how to cook with truffles, you’ll have to be aware of the different types of truffles to really understand what flavor profiles you’re adding to your dishes.

Black Truffles

Black truffles are notoriously popular in classy restaurants, where they’re used as garnishes and cooked into dishes. Typically, the most well-known black truffle species is Tuber melanosporum, sometimes known as Périgord truffles as they’re native to Périgord, France.

What Do Black Truffles Taste Like?

Périgord truffles, and black truffles in general, tend to have the flavor most think of when referring to truffles. The taste is intensely umami and has a strong undertone of a roasted flavor. 

Thus, black truffles serve as perfect toppings for both lighter and heavier dishes as they complement both options well with their strong taste and aroma. For example, many people love truffle fries, but also enjoy black truffles on heavy red meats like steak.

White Truffles

Meanwhile, white truffles are less easily found and more expensive than Périgord truffles or any black truffle species. They’re far more delicate than black truffles and must be handled with care after harvesting.

The most costly variety of white truffle is known as Tuber magnatum, or Piedmont truffle, native to Piedmont, Italy. They’re also sometimes referred to as Alba truffles, one of the most expensive types of truffles in the world. This is in part due to the delicacy of white truffles.

What Do White Truffles Taste Like?

In terms of flavor profiles, white truffles are more delicate in this sense, too. They have a lighter flavor than black truffles. Rather than conveying deep, strong earthy flavors, they taste quite the opposite. White truffles tend to have a light, peppery taste with some slight garlicky notes.

Because of this, white truffles mainly complement lighter dishes. They pair well with pasta, soups, potatoes, and dishes like risotto. It is typically recommended to avoid using white truffle oil on a heavier dish as the flavors may not pair well, but do not be afraid to experiment. 

When you’re thinking about whether to use black or white truffles, consider how the choice might change the outcome of your dish.

Cooking With Truffles: Do It Your Way

However you choose to cook or use truffles, have fun with it. The taste of truffles, whether it be in oils, sauces, or raw truffles, is already delectable because of truffles’ uniqueness in their flavor and scent. So who’s to say what you can’t use them with?

Delicious, unique dishes and great inventions have always come from trying something new and doing the unexpected. Perhaps you want to make those chocolate truffles a reality, or maybe try white truffle oil on a steak.

So go ahead and test out your new cooking ideas, whether they’ve been done before or are your own creation, don’t be afraid to add truffle to it all.


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