When I was 23, about a year into my first real job, I was at a meeting in Los Angeles. A colleague and I decided to go to Spago in Beverly Hills for dinner. I looked at the menu and wanted to order the risotto, but couldn't picture chocolate in the risotto as the description said that it included black truffles. (stop laughing!!! I have come a long way since that night!!). Yes, I really thought they meant the chocolate type of truffle, not the incredibly amazing and expensive mushroom type. After hearing the explanation from our waiter, and after being extremely embarrassed by the shock on his face, I ordered the risotto and my life was changed forever.
Ten years later, I now adore truffles and will order the dish on the menu containing truffles whenever possible. My dream is to purchase a truffle from our local Wegman's, but at $600 a pound, I need to come up with about 20 recipes to make to justify the cost!!
My sister knows of my love and brought me back a jar of truffles from Spain this past winter.
So for the past several months I have been trying to think of what else to do with them besides using them in risotto. There aren't many recipes using truffles out there!! Then in July I had a dinner meeting at Ounce Prime Steakhouse in Dallas. One of our sides was a pan seared gnocchi in a black truffle sauce. As soon as I tasted it, I knew that my jar of black truffles would soon become sauce. The chef was nice enough to share the basic recipe with me - deglaze pan with white wine, add cream and simmer, add black truffles and simmer.
Here is where I took that recipe.. but first, look at these beauties on my cutting board:
Chicken in a Black Truffle Cream Sauce over Linguine
Ingredients for the sauce (this made enough for 6-8 servings)
- 1 small shallot, finely chopped
- 2 small cloves garlic, minced or pressed
- 1/3 c dry white wine
- 1 1/2 c light cream (heavy would also work)
- 2 tbsp chopped black truffles; I also added 1 tsp of black truffle cream my friend Stasia gave me for my birthday
- Salt and pepper to taste
All other ingredients
- 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed
- Dried thyme
- Paprika, salt, pepper
- Olive oil and butter
- Heat olive oil and butter in a saute pan
- Sprinkle chicken with thyme, paprika, salt, pepper. I also seasoned the flour with the same.
- Lightly coat chicken with the flour mixture and add to pan. Turn heat to medium and cook for about 15 minutes, turning occasionally. If at this point your chicken isn't done, transfer to a baking dish and finish cooking in the oven.
- In the meantime, cook linguine in pot with olive oil and salt. When pasta is done, pour some olive oil over it to keep it from sticking (we timed it perfectly so everything was done at the exact same time)
- Add shallots and garlic to the pan the chicken cooked in; saute 1-2 min.
- Deglaze pan with white wine and let simmer about 3-4 minutes.
- Add cream and bring to a simmer for 10 minutes.
- Stir in chopped truffles (and truffle cream) and let simmer another 10 minutes.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper.
The chef at the restaurant told me to strain the sauce before serving. Why would I want to discard all of those truffles!!? The pieces were so tiny and we all loved them being in the sauce.
To plate - Put linguine on a plate. Slice chicken and put it on top of the linguine. Spoon as much sauce as you want over the chicken and pasta. Top with a nice slice or two of black truffle. The finished product -
My parents were here for dinner and my mom was nervous that she wouldn't like this (not a fan of strong mushrooms), but she loved it! Yes truffles are mushrooms, but they don't have the same woody flavor as other mushrooms. They taste earthy and complex, but not in an overpowering way at all.
To my sister - thank you SO much for bringing me those truffles!!! I called her after dinner to tell her just that. And since Stasia bought the truffle cream locally, I'm happy to know that I can easily get my hands on some!
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