This decadent dish highlights the famous black truffle

Editor’s note – Don’t miss “Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy” airing at 9 p.m. ET on Sundays. Tucci travels Italy to discover the secrets and delights of the country’s regional cuisines.

(CNN) — In the Umbria region of Italy, most people enjoy their meat. Pork and wild boar are the main – and sometimes the only – dishes on a hearty Umbrian menu. But pork is not the only specialty of the region.

Umbria is one of Italy’s leading producers of the highly sought-after black truffles, earthy and aromatic mushrooms famous the world over. The traditional method of truffle hunting with dogs and many digs in mountainous terrain can be difficult to maintain.

Carlo Caporicci was able to turn truffle hunting into truffle cultivation at his family estate, San Pietro a Pettine. Using a method that takes more than five years, Caporicci can produce black truffles that he says are identical to their counterparts in the wild. His daughter, Alice Caporicci, incorporates her family’s products into the dishes of the estate’s restaurant, The Kitchen.

Essence of the Woods pasta – also known as Assoluto di Bosco – was served to Stanley Tucci when he visited the family farm during his exploration of Umbria in ‘Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy’. The dish combines the delicious flavors of beetroot, porcini mushrooms and black garlic to create a mouth-watering pasta sauce that complements but doesn’t eclipse the star of the show – lots of truffles.

“A fitting finale,” Tucci concluded as he savored the dish, “to celebrate Carlo, Alice, the future of truffles and perhaps the future of Umbrian cuisine.”

Assoluto di Bosco

(Essence of wood pasta with porcini mushrooms and truffle)

Makes 4 servings

You can buy black garlic in specialty stores or online. Alternatively, make your own by placing a whole fresh garlic bulb in a hot (not low) slow cooker for 2-3 weeks. It tastes milder and sweeter than raw garlic. Store the remaining garlic cloves in an airtight container.

Prized black truffles from the Umbrian town of Norcia can be found online and in some specialty Italian stores.


Mushroom broth

2 cups | 500 grams of dried porcini mushrooms

1 ¼ cup | 300 grams of fresh porcini stems

¾ cup | 200 grams of fresh Norcia black truffle

Beet Foam

3 ½ tablespoons | 50 grams of unsalted butter

2 shallots, chopped

4 pre-cooked red beets, peeled and sliced

¼ cup | 60 grams of white wine vinegar

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Black garlic breadcrumbs

2 cloves of black garlic

3 ½ tablespoons | 50 milliliters of extra virgin olive oil and more for frying if necessary

2 3/4 cups | 300 grams of breadcrumbs

Touch of white wine vinegar

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Dressing for pasta

1 ¼ pounds | 600 grams of spaghettoni

¼ cup plus 1 tbsp | 70 grams of extra virgin olive oil

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon | 5 grams of salt and more for the pan

¼ cup | 30 grams fresh Norcia black truffle, chopped, plus ½ cup (70 grams) for freshly grated shavings

100 grams of fresh porcini mushrooms, cut into ¼ inch (½ centimetre) pieces

3 ½ tablespoons | 50 grams of unsalted butter

3.4 ounces | 100 milliliters of white wine to temper the sauce

Fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped, for garnish


Hand blender

1. Prepare the mushroom broth: Pour 4 cups (1 liter) of water into a saucepan and add the dried and fresh porcini mushrooms. Add the fresh truffle. Bring to a boil and simmer for 1 hour. Remove from heat and strain.

2. Prepare the beetroot mousse: Melt the butter in a pan and brown the shallots over low heat. Add the beets and deglaze the pan with white wine vinegar to allow the caramelized shallot pieces to come off the bottom. Season with salt and pepper and blend the beets with an immersion blender until creamy.

3. Prepare the black garlic breadcrumbs: In another skillet over low heat, sauté the black garlic with 3 ½ tablespoons (50 milliliters) of oil. Add the breadcrumbs and fry, stirring constantly and adding more oil in case it is not moist to avoid burning, for about 10 minutes. As soon as the breadcrumbs are toasted, remove from the heat. Then add a little vinegar, salt and pepper.

4. Cook the pasta and dressing: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. In a small bowl, toss ¼ cup (30 grams) of truffle with oil, garlic, and 1 teaspoon (5 grams) of salt. Clean the ceps and cut them into fairly thick slices of ¼ inch (½ centimeter).

Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat until golden and sauté the porcini mushrooms until brown and tender, about 4 minutes. Then season with salt and temper with wine. Let the alcohol evaporate before adding the broth. Add ¼ cup (30 grams) of truffle oil mixture and let the liquid in the pan reduce by a third. The remaining liquid will be needed to finish cooking the pasta.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to the packet instructions, taking care to drain the pasta 2 minutes before the required time. Mix the pasta in a skillet with the sautéed mushrooms over medium-low heat and finish cooking with a few ladles of mushroom broth.

5. Plate the meal: Divide the beetroot mousse among 4 soup plates, placing 3 tablespoons of beetroot mousse at the bottom of each. Top with the pasta first, then the mushrooms from the pan. Finish with a dose of black garlic breadcrumbs. Divide ½ cup (70 grams) of freshly grated truffle shavings among 4 plates, then garnish with chopped parsley.

This recipe is courtesy of Alice Caporicci of The Kitchen in San Pietro a Pettine, Italy.