This week, we’re celebrating one of Italy’s most prized gastronomic exports - the truffle, or ‘il tartufo’ in the native tongue. Our menu this week is infused with the luxurious ‘scorzone’ black summer truffle.
The ‘scorzone’ black summer truffle:
The ‘scorzone’ black summer truffle hails from the Valnerina valley in Umbria, a region that is renowned for its exquisite truffles. As the name would suggest, these truffles are cultivated over the summer months, from late spring (May) to September. The summer truffle grows by the roots of Mediterranean trees, like oak, hazelnut, chestnut, elm and poplar trees. Summer truffles are significantly more hardy than other truffle varieties, and are not as sensitive to soil composition and moisture levels.
Similar in characteristics to the burgundy truffle, the scorzone truffle boasts a delicate flavour and aroma, making this particular truffle a very versatile ingredient. The truffle has a subtle earthy flavour, with notes of chocolate and hazelnut. The lighter flavour and aroma of the truffle also lends itself to lighter, more summery dishes.
The scorzone truffle is also distinguished by its appearance - the truffle is dark on the outside, with a rough exterior not dissimilar in texture to bark. On the inside, the truffle is a pale hazel/mauve colour, marbled by white veins. As the season progresses, the truffle’s flesh will grow increasingly brown in colour, but we love the truffle in its early prime - the flesh looks particularly beautiful atop a generous bowl of fresh pasta.
Our scorzone truffles are sourced by Urbani Tartufi, who have been pioneering truffle cultivation in Italy since 1852. The distinctively soft texture and delicate, earthy aroma of the summer truffle is the ideal pairing for a cold glass of Italian fizz - perfect for a special summer date night or dinner party at home.
Pairing wine with the scorzone truffle
We spoke with Antonio Tomassini, friend & wine advisor to Urbani Tartufi, advisor and supplier of Italian wines to the Italian Embassy and the Italian Consulate in London to share his top picks when pairing truffles and wine.
- Vercanto 2018 is a Grechetto, that is 100% organic, and hails from Umbria. Grechetto is the only indigenous white grape from Umbria, which also happens to be the home of the Urbani Family and their exquisite truffles. Vercaton is a fresh yet complex white, that is well balanced with tropical and exotic flavours. The wine is aged for 5 months in French Oak, which gives the wine it’s signature depth and structure, meaning it will stand up to the flavour of the truffle.
- Colombo’s Azienda Vinicola 2015 is a Pinot Noir that is produced near Alba, Piedmont. Alba is similarly famous for truffles, and this wine has aromas and scents reminiscent of the delicacy. This wine has soft tannins that will not overpower the truffle's flavour, with a good structure and long finish. It is a harmonious wine, with aromas of cherries, rose and vanilla. The latter note stems from the ageing process, which initially occurs in French Oak for 18 months. This will complement the nutty and vanilla flavours present in the truffle.
- Hailing from the north of Tuscany, Coldipietrerosse 2015 (meaning ‘red stone hill’) is an award winning red blend wine. It is a blend of Cabernet, Merlot and Petit Verdot, with a vibrant and deep ruby red colour. The wine has very pronounced aromas of dark fruits, red currants and blueberries. Coldipietrerosse 2015 is aged for 22 months in French barriques, then matured for a further 12 months in the bottle. The red has a full body with smooth tannins, and an elegant finish.
All Antonio Tomassini's recommendations are available from specialist wine distributors Eythrope Wine here. Pasta Evangelists customers can enjoy 10% here with the code pastaevangelists10 at the checkout.
Craving the scorzone truffle?
This week, we’ve partnered with world-renowned truffle pioneers, Urbani Tartufi, to create a limited-edition summer truffle tasting menu to enjoy at home. The menu features three different types of handmade pasta (tagliolini, tortelloni and triangoli) with fresh “scorzone” truffle.
Beef & Summer Truffle Tortelloni with Urbani Truffle Butter
This week’s tortelloni are, we feel, a celebration of il tartufo (the truffle) in all its glory. Fresh scorzone truffle is combined with slow-cooked beef to create a rich, sumptuous filling. As a shape, tortelloni originate in Emilia-Romagna, specifically Modena, a city highly regarded for its thriving food culture. To serve, though, we again look to Umbria’s most-coveted treasure, with a butter infused with fresh scorzone truffle supplied by our amici at Urbani. As you melt down this “burro di tartufo” in a pan to serve, we hope that you, like us, will marvel at just how wonderful the fresh truffle smells, filling the kitchen with heady promise. To serve, we’ve also included a portion of formaggio - whilst Italians often prefer to enjoy truffle without cheese, we find that it adds extra decadence and complements the slow-cooked beef filling.
Tagliolini with a Whole Urbani Truffle & Urbani Truffle Butter (Vegetarian)
In this limited-edition dish, each portion of our beautiful, fresh tagliolini are accompanied with a whole black truffle from our amici at Urbani, sourced in Umbria, where black truffles are locally known as trifolati and prized for their incredible aroma. This dish celebrates the glorious aroma of the truffle in a most Italian way: by showcasing the ingredient simply and avoiding superfluous flavourings that detract from the centrepiece.
Instead, we invite you to slice the truffle, ever so thinly, and lavish the shavings upon a tangle of our fresh tagliolini. The natural oils and fats in fresh pasta bring out the rich, earthy intensity of the truffle, and so whilst the setting is simple, the flavour is full-on. A final anointment with Urbani truffle-infused burro - butter - gives the dish a beautiful lustre, and, frankly, there really is nothing more to add. Though, if you are so inclined, a glass of bubbles would make for an appropriately luxurious accompaniment...
Pecorino & Summer Truffle Triangoli with Urbani Truffle Butter
Triangoli are a beautiful, triangle-shaped ravioli, beloved across Italy but scarcely known outside of il bel paese. This dish holds a well-deserved status as one of the classic indulgent tastes of Italy, with each triangolo filled with black truffles grown in Umbria, where they are often known as "trifolati". We've also included Pecorino, one of Italy's finest and best-known cheeses. Its tangy sharpness makes it the perfect pairing for "il tartufo" (the truffle). To serve, we've included our limited edition Urbani truffle butter (with pieces of their fresh scorzone truffle) as well as a smattering of Piemontese hazelnuts.
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