For many of us, one of the highlights of winter is truffles. But it wasn’t always so in Australia – on 18 June 1999 Duncan Garvey harvested Australia’s first Perigord black truffle in Tasmania. Since then truffles have also been cultivated in NSW, ACT, WA, Victoria and New Zealand (with plantations in SA and Queensland that haven’t yet produced). While some people are captivated by the funky, earthy aroma from the first whiff, others take a while to understand the allure. Either way, it’s hard to resist the theatre of having a waiter open a jar containing a small black nugget to allow diners to inhale the scent, before serving it tableside using a special truffle shaver. At around $2,500/kg, truffles are an indulgence, but a little goes a long way and a small one (enough for 6-8 people) only costs around $100; a great way to add a special touch to your next dinner party. To make the most of truffles, keep it simple and remember they need warmth and fat to bring out their aroma and flavour. This easy dish of fettuccine with black truffle ticks all the boxes. As for a wine match … I like the synergy between truffles’ earthiness and an elegant pinot noir, such as Curly Flat from the Macedon Ranges in Victoria.
Serves 6 as an entrée
- 600g fresh egg fettuccine
- 150g salted butter
- 100g freshly grated parmesan
- 100g fontina, diced
- 1 x 40g black truffle
Here’s all you need to know about cooking pasta perfectly (scroll down to Q&A).
- Cook pasta in boiling salted water for a couple of minutes, until just tender.
- Meanwhile, melt butter in a frying pan.
- Drain pasta and add to the frying pan with parmesan and fontina and toss well to combine.
- Transfer to warm serving bowls and shave truffle liberally over the top.