fettuccine al profumo di tartufo

It was a serendipitous discovery that started with the Stalinist State Store system left over in the state of Pennsylvania from the days of Prohibition, officially called the Liquor Control Board (LCB). We've grumbled about it before. More than once. bob's father-in-law barkev always liked to start dinner with a shot of Lebanese Arak mixed with water and soon bob was a faithful drinking partner. Arak is one of the many Mediterranean anis flavored liqueurs, but decidedly less sweet than the Greek ouzo which seems to find its way into the inventory of the LCB without interruption and which is not an acceptable substitute. Arak on the other hand had dropped off the LCB supply chain without hope of recovery in the early years of the twenty first century, as explained by customer service. After being cutoff long enough, Google was called in to remedy the situation. And it turns up an on-line liquor store just across the border in NJ from bob's hometown in rural NY, only a 30 minute drive from the family house where booze shipments are not prohibited. A case is ordered and delivered there within days. Later transferred illegally across state lines into PA. That case eventually runs out. Still without hope of finding Arak even down in MD at ani's sister's state which had delivered us Arak faithfully up until the devastating Israeli war on Lebanon in 2006, we call up our NJ supplier and he has two cases in his store in a few days. Free enterprise seems not to have the same problems as the largest buyer of alcohol in the world in acquiring what people want.

We go up to visit bob's mom for the weekend pickup and head off in a mini-blizzard to conclude the deal. We survive the trip, but on the way back home to mom's, we pass through Main Street Warwick (the next town over) and spot a number of restaurants including a Middle Eastern joint. We store this memory for a future visit. The future visit arrives, so we google Warwick restaurants. No Middle Eastern anything, but "Trattoria" catches bob's eye. He checks out the menu. Hmm, sounds pretty interesting, authentic even. Worth a risk, even though it is easy to be disappointed by "Italian" restaurants in America.

The four of us do a 6pm Saturday night test meal. No problem getting a same day reservation in small towns it seems. bob goes for the fettuccine with the sexy truffle name, ani the whole wheat pasta special alla boscaiola (woodsman style, with porcini mushroom and tomato sauce). Preceded by a pear, gorgonzola and arugula-fennel salad (bob) and grilled calamari with arugula and fennel (ani). This stuff was all excellent, worthy of some of the best BYOB Italians in philly. Mom and Chet seem to really like their orders too. The 8 dollar pinot noirs times 3 plus a whisky sour jack up the price of course. And our insistence on a 20 percent tip when Chet paid the bill. But it was well worth the expense. Even if we would have paid ourselves. Which we didn't. Sometimes you have to leave the privilege to others.

We'd had the truffle oil for a while but never seemed to know what to do with it. This recipe turned out to be a great first application. We invited the philly in-laws over for a special sleep-over Friday night dinner to repay them for all the regular weekly freeloading we do at their dinner table. Everyone was happy. Food. Family. Friends. They go together. Why not treat somebody special in your life? This is a good place to start.


1 lb freshly made fettuccine [2 cups 00 pasta flour, 2 eggs, 1/4 c olive oil, up to 4 T water in stand mixer]
12-16 oz  asparagus
2 T white truffle oil
1 shallot, chopped finely
4 oz shitake mushrooms, stems removed, caps cleaned with a damp paper towel, then chopped
1/4 c cream
1/3 c grated parmigiano
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/3 c shaved parmigiano.


  1. Freshly made fettuccine really takes this dish to the next level, and it is not that difficult to do if you have a Kitchen-Aid stand mixer with the pasta roller attachments and dough hook as we do. We followed Lidia's fresh pasta recipe, switching from the usual mixer attachment to the dough hook once the ingredients were evenly mixed, hooking it about 7 minutes or so until ready to let sit wrapped in plastic wrap for 30 minutes. Look up detailed instructions if you attempt this. Practice helps. Just doing it once and realizing it is not that hard is crucial. Then we worked the dough at the first setting, and then ran it through successively until the setting 6 so it was slightly transparent from being so thin. Roll each cut bunch of fettuccine into a little bundle with some cornmeal sprinkled in it as you bundle to keep the noodles from sticking, then put on a big cookie pan bunch by bunch and cover with a towel. Or just use high quality imported Italian dried fettuccine. Or fresh pasta if you can buy it, but it won't be as thin and delicate as you can do yourself.
  2. Cook the cleaned asparagus a few minutes but then remove from heat and put into ice water to stop the cooking and keep it crisp. When cool cut diagonally into long thin shavings up to the tip, leaving them intact. Set aside.
  3. In a 4 qt chef's pan or similar pot that can also hold the pasta later, sauté the shallot in the truffle oil until softened, then add in the mushrooms and sauté them a few minutes, then add the asparagus and heat through, then add in the cream, maybe even a little more than 1/4 c (or add in a bit of pasta water at the combination stage). Cover and set aside.
  4. Depending on your other dishes (we did pan seared dry scallops with truffled balsamic glaze and a salad), boil the pasta so you can serve it immediately when it is cooked al dente. This goes pretty quick with this delicate homemade fettuccine.
  5. Drain the pasta and dump into the pot/pan with the sauce over low heat and combine with the grated parmigiano and salt and pepper. Remove from the heat.
  6. Sprinkle some shaved parmigiano over each individual serving.


  1. Trattoria Viviano Dinner Menu January 2010:
    Fettuccini al Profumo di Tartuffo  | Fettuccini, Asparagus, Shitake Mushrooms, Truffle Oil and Slivered Parmigiano  18 .
    There were a few spelling glitches in the menu, but the products we tasted were excellent. What's a few mispellings, anyway?
  2. Greenwood Lake Wines dot com. Although went you pull up in your car, it says Greenwood Lake Discount Liquors on the store sign. Thanks, Jim.
  3. Lidia's Family Table. Type 00 flour might be available at Italian specialty stores but we got a King Arthur Americanized version : Italian style flour. It is ideal for fresh fettuccine.
  4. We got the pasta roller attachment set for our Kitchen-Aid stand mixer when our transformer for the Italian electric motor for the traditional hand roller pasta machine got fried by a French raclette dinner at our friends. But we only used the set for thinning lasagna until we did an evening workshop at Williams-Sonoma and realized it was pretty easy to do fresh pasta from scratch. Seared Sea Scallops with Chipotle Cream Alfredo Pasta Sauce was the learning vehicle, which we repeated a few times. Hence our association of scallops with fresh fettuccine.
  5. Monini Tartufo Bianco, condimento a base di olio extra vergine di oliva aromatizzato. White truffle oil.
    Given to us by Gabriella of  Torre de' Passeri near Pescara, Italy not far from which the internationally known De Cecco pasta company has its headquarters. Her son is the US rep in NYC for importing their products into the USA, so she has an in with De Cecco stuff which she generously gifted us with two summers in a row. Her neighbor Luisa is the mom of our dear friend Fede; Luisa had introduced herself to us by creating a truly magnificent Abruzzese feast at their Montesilvano home next door to Pescara. Food, family, friendship, Italian style.
  6. Illustrations available.
fettuprofumo.htm: 30-jan-2010 [what, ME cook? © 1984 dr bob enterprises]