In this case the rich creaminess of the sauce is contrasted against the brilliant mineral, and acid rich flavors of the wines. Other wines that would be worth exploring for this sort of dish, rich, creamy and laced with prosciutto, would include Pinot Bianco from the Alto Adige, Fiano di Avellino from Campania, dry Riesling from Australia or even a fine aged dry Chenin Blanc from the Loire Valley.
What to expect: RieslingRiesling is a chameleon of a grape, able to produce world class wines that range from bone dry to unctuously sweet. Germany is most closely associated with Riesling, where all styles are made, and the range of flavors runs the gamut from steely and crisp with crunchy, mineral driven flavors to fresh lime, apple, and peach notes and beyond to the rich honied, candied fruit tones of the great dessert wines.
Worth every guilty ounce of truffle cream sauceAutumn is truly a great season for food and wine lovers. As the temperatures drop and the leaves begin to fall, we find ourselves craving the rich and hearty foods and wines that truly make life worth living. Maybe it’s a creamy spiced squash bisque or a rich succulent braise that triggers those happy thoughts of good times and good friends. For me it’s the foods of Northern Italy that always fit the bill. One of my favorites is a pasta dish I mastered while working as a chef at T.H.O.R.: Fettuccine in truffle cream sauce.
Fettuccine in Truffle Cream SauceNot a dish you could eat every day or even every week but, when the cards are down and inhibitions are lifted, this is a plate that is sure to please with its bold flavors beautifully intertwined in an elegant, decedent, yet simply prepared sauce. The woodsy, smoky and slightly salty flavors of the prosciutto combined with the fresh, sweet vegetal flavors of the peas, which balanced by the creamy sauce, wafts intoxicating aromas of truffles into the air. The best part about this recipe is that the majority of the work is in the preparation, meaning you can prep your ingredients before your guests arrive, entertain them with a bubbly, and then return to the kitchen to finish the dish in literally 10 to 15 minutes.
So what would you pair with such a dish? I used this opportunity to experiment with Riesling, more specifically dry (trocken) Riesling from Germany, and I’m sure glad I did. My theory was that the same lively acidity Riesling is known for would cut through the rich creaminess and intense flavors of the sauce, which it did in spades. Also, Riesling is known for aromas and flavors different from most white wines, all of which added new dimensions to the truffle cream sauce. For a dish such as this you would want to find a dry Riesling for its brisk acidity and citrus, mineral qualities. Riesling is also known for being a wine that truly reflects the place in which it is grown. This fact was truly apparent in the two wines I selected, as one was a single vineyard selection and the other a blend.
2006 Weingut Paulinshof Kestener Paulinshofberg Riesling Auslese Trocken
The single vineyard 2006 Weingut Paulinshof Kestener Paulinshofberg Riesling Auslese Trocken sliced through the truffle cream sauce like a hot knife and added new dimensions to the sauce with it’s flavors of sour apple, orange zest, and hazelnut, leading to a sweet mid-palate with tongue curling acidity. On the nose, it showed lime and melon, which managed to hold its own against the cream sauce’s heady aromas of truffle. As you dig deeper the fruit is backed by the smell of chestnut, slate stone, and almond skins, which provide wonderful details and complexities. This was everyone’s favorite of the night but, while not necessarily expensive, cost almost twice as much as the other wine.
2007 Peter Stolleis Haardter Herzog Riesling Kabinett Trocken
The 2007 Peter Stolleis Haardter Herzog Riesling Kabinett Trocken was a light yellow straw in color with fresh aromas of peach nectar, lemon, and a bit of butter cookie. The palate showed lemon rind and sweet pear but was all focused on the first impression with very little mid-palate performance. The acidity was fresh and focused which did its job against the truffle cream sauce and followed through to a sour citrus finish. Not a wine to think on but made for a wonderful simple sipper that paired well with the dinner and could have scored much higher in everyone’s book if it wasn’t evaluated against such stiff competition as the other wine.
In the end, both Rieslings held their own and complimented the dinner quite well. However, if it was up to me to make this again I would go for the 2006 Weingut Paulinshof simply because of its multiple levels of flavor and rich textures which truly complimented the decadence of the truffle cream sauce. So next time you find yourself craving the finer things in life without spending hours in the kitchen, I invite you to try this recipe and pair it with a dry Riesling. I think you’ll find it’s worth every guilty ounce of truffle cream sauce.
Click here to download a printable PDF of this recipe.
Fettuccine in Truffle Cream SauceThis recipe is all about planning and timing. When working in fine dining, every plate is prepared separately in its own pan, no matter if the entire table orders the same thing. However, at home, this would be nearly impossible, as you’d find yourself running out of burners very quickly. I have adjusted my recipe, which was initially intended for a single plate for a party of four.
When it comes to the truffles, look for white truffles. If you have the funds to actually buy truffles for shaving over this dish then that’s great. However, if you’d like to keep the cost of your meal outside of the stratospheric cost range, you can easily use truffle oil. Be careful, though, when purchasing truffle oil by looking for a brand that has actual truffle in the oil, and stay away from anything that has ingredients that read “truffle flavoring.” I use white truffle oil from Wild Forest Products.
Lastly, a note on the prosciutto. When you go to your butcher, ask for them to slice the prosciutto thick, about 1/8 of an inch. At that size you will likely need about two slices for this recipe. This will speed up your preparation. Trim the fat and cut the prosciutto into a small dice.
- 1 lb bag of fettuccine (timing in recipe is for dry pasta)
- ¾ cup Prosciutto di Parma (small Dice)
- 1 cup peas (frozen is fine but go for a good quality brand)
- 1 shallot (fine dice)
- 3/4 cup white wine (if possible, use the same wine you are pairing)
- 1 cup vegetable stock
- 1 quart whipping cream (at room temperature)
- 1 cup Parmigiano Reggiano (grated)
- 4 tbls butter (cubed)
- truffle oil (see recipe instructions for use)
- salt and pepper (to taste)
- fresh parsley (minced)
- 1 tbls. canola oil.
- Start a pot of salted boiling water. This is not for the pasta; it’s for the peas. Also have a bowl half filled with ice water to create an ice bath. Place the peas into the boiling water and let them par-cook for 4 – 5 minutes until they turn a vibrant green. Immediately strain them and throw the peas into the ice bath. Strain them again and set them aside, covered, in your refrigerator.
- Heat sauté pan over medium heat and add about a tablespoon of canola oil. Carefully use a paper towel to coat the pan with the oil. Add the small dice of Prosciutto di Parma to the pan and cook off. You’re looking for a toasted appearance on each side. While the prosciutto is cooking, cover a plate with a paper towel (think about how you cook off bacon for Sunday breakfast.) Once the prosciutto is toasted on each side, take off the heat and move onto the plated paper towel. Set the prosciutto aside.
- Have all of your ingredients ready and close to the oven. Place your serving plates in an oven at the lowest temperature (this will keep the sauce from breaking when you plate the food.) Bring a pot of well-salted water to a boil for the pasta.
- Place a large saucier or sauté pan over medium low heat. Melt 2 tbls of the butter in the pan and add the shallots and season with salt. Allow the shallots to sweat in the butter until they are translucent.
- Turn the heat up to medium and allow the pan’s temperature to come up, but be careful to not let the shallot take on any color. Add the white wine and allow it to reduce. As the white wine is reducing in the pan, add the pasta to the boiling pasta water and set your timer to 2 minutes short of the recommended cooking time. (You are now at the point of no return.)
- Add the stock and whipping cream to the saucepan and raise the heat to a medium high. Stay close to the pan and continue to mix regularly to make sure that the cream is not burning on the bottom of the pan. The idea is to reduce the cream by 1/3.
- After about four minutes, add the pre-cooked prosciutto to the pan and continue to reduce. If reduction appears to be going too quickly then turn down the burner to medium low. Taste and season lightly with salt.
- The timer for your pasta should go off about the same time as the cream has reduced to desired level.
- Pour the pasta into a colander and quickly rinse out the pot with hot water. Place pan back on the stovetop over a low flame.
- Drizzle pasta with truffle oil and toss. Then add the pasta back to the pot and pour the reduced cream sauce over the pasta along with the par-cooked peas and stir to combine.
- Turn off the burner and add half of the grated Parmigiano Reggiano and last two tbls of butter. Stir to bring the sauce together and taste. Season with salt and pepper if necessary.
- Remove the plates from the oven and portion the pasta out with tongs. (Don’t worry about the sauce at this time because it will collect at the bottom of the pan.) Once you have portioned out all of the pasta, use a ladle to sauce each plate from what is left at the bottom of the pot, making sure to distribute the peas and pieces of prosciutto evenly.
- Drizzle each plate with truffle oil. (Be careful not to overdo it. Truffle and truffle oil can go from good to overwhelming very quickly.) Then sprinkle with the remaining parmigiano and then with parsley.
- With a warm paper towel, clean the rim of the plates and serve.
Learn more about German wine and Food Pairing: On SnoothLearn to Decipher German Wine Labels
German wines, whose labels offer you all the detailed information you need to make a great selection, can be very intimidating. It’s time to make it a bit easier. In case you missed our recent article, it helps one learn how to tell dry wines from sweet and find a Riesling to match your needs.
Fettuccine in Truffle Cream Sauce
Autumn is truly a great season for food and wine lovers. As the temperatures drop and the leaves begin to fall, we find ourselves craving the rich and hearty foods and wines that truly make life worth living. For me it’s the foods of Northern Italy that always fit the bill.