Tagliolini pasta, house-made butter, white Alba truffle and Parmigiano Reggiano
Recipe from Nino Zoccali's cookbook The Venetian Republic
PREP TIME 10 minutes
COOKING TIME 10 minutes
A classic northern Italian dish, this is also very much a staple of high-end Venetian dining. At the right times of year, you’d be hard pressed to find a quality restaurant in Venice that isn’t serving one version or another of this recipe. The white truffles are from Alba in Piedmont, and while not a Veneto product, they’re regularly eaten across the whole of northern Italy and are an absolute favourite in Venice and the Veneto, sitting alongside less prized black truffles from other regions of Italy. This is a dish to savour.
400 g (14 oz) Fresh egg pasta dough, cut into tagliolini - 2 mm wide(see below)
200 g (7 oz) House-made butter (see below)
4 tablespoons finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano, plus extra to serve
40 g (1½ oz) white Alba truffle, for slicing
Sea salt and freshly ground white pepper
Fill a large deep pot with water and bring to the boil. Season with 2 tablespoons salt, add the pasta and bring back to the boil, then cook for 1–2 minutes. Drain the pasta, keeping a spoonful of the pasta water.
Gently melt the butter with the spoonful of pasta water in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the grated Parmigiano Reggiano and then add the cooked pasta. Stir together all the ingredients. Season with salt and pepper to taste and stir again.
Serve on a large serving platter. Finely slice the truffle over the pasta and finish with a final grating of cheese.
Fresh egg pasta dough - Makes approximately 600 g (1 lb, 5 oz)
330 g (11½ oz) plain (all-purpose) flour, plus extra, for kneading
70 g (2½ oz) fine semolina
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
4 x 60 g (2¼ oz) free range or organic eggs
Combine the flour, semolina and sea salt and place on a work surface or large wooden board. The flour should form a peaked mound. With your hand, make a hole in the top of the mound so that it resembles a volcano. This hole needs to be big enough to be able to 'house' the eggs. Break the eggs into the hole. With your hand or with a fork, gently beat the eggs, then slowly incorporate the flour into the egg mixture. I do this by moving my hand in a circular motion, slowly incorporating the flour from the inside wall of the mound. Don't worry if the dough looks like a mess. This is normal.
Once fully combined, knead a little more flour into the dough if it feels a little wet and sticky. Set the dough aside and clean the work space. Dust some fresh flour onto the work surface and continue kneading the dough for another 5 minutes. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and set aside in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Next, roll the pasta to the desired thickness and cut into the desired shape.
MAKES approximately 360 g (13 oz) butter
MAKES approximately 475 ml (scant 2 cups) buttermilk
PREP TIME: 30 minutes
900 ml (3 ¾ cups) cream
1 tablespoon sea salt
To make butter, place the cream in a mixing bowl and whisk until the buttermilk separates from the butter solids.
Drain the buttermilk and reserve. You will be left with approximately 400 g (14 oz) butter. Place the butter into a muslin cloth and rinse under cold running water until all the remaining buttermilk has been removed.
Wring the butter in a clean muslin cloth to remove as much of the remaining liquid as possible.
While the butter is still soft, mix in the salt in a dry mixing bowl and store in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 weeks.