This dish is all about the play of different earthy flavours. It came together gradually in my mind, beginning with a tray of Jerusalem artichokes from the lovely Windellama Organics and concluding with the opening of the truffle season on the winter solstice. I realised the nuttiness of the artichokes would match perfectly with Canberra’s black truffles. I wanted to fill the pasta with an artichoke puree and serve it with a burnt butter and truffle sauce. It seemed natural that the pasta would need to be spelt to really bring out all the earthiness and identify it as the flavour of the dish. A little roast garlic and nutmeg in the pasta filling would bring the right sweetness and complexity to the earthiness, and fresh thyme in the burnt butter made it complete. Delicious. If you are lucky enough to live near truffle country, try this; it’s divine.
|1||tablespoon||finely grated parmesan cheese|
|1||generous pinch||freshly grated nutmeg|
|1/2||teaspoon||white truffle oil|
|2||teaspoons||fresh thyme leaves|
|2||grams||grated black truffle|
|shaved black truffle (to serve)|
To prepare the filling (this can be done several days in advance), roast the artichokes in their skins with the garlic at 180oC till tender (about an hour). When they are cool enough to touch, cut them open and press the flesh through a fine sieve. Discard the skins. Repeat this for the garlic cloves. Allow to cool. Add remaining ingredients, combine well and season to taste.
To make the pasta, combine the flours in a mixing bowl. Beat the eggs in a small bowl. Make a well in the centre and add the egg. Do not scrape the egg bowl and reserve for use later. Gradually mix the flour into the egg with a fork and mix to combine. When the mixture is dry enough, use your hands to combine the ingredients thoroughly. If it is too dry to hold itself together, add a little of the water. Knead the dough till it is elastic and very smooth. Roll the dough very thinly and cut into 5cm squares. (Like generations of cooks before me, I don’t have a pasta machine, so mine turned out rather rustic.)
To assemble the pasta, place a small spoonful of filling in the middle of each of the pasta squares. Dip your finger in the remaining egg in the bowl and moisten the edges of a pasta square, join opposing corners to make a pasta triangle. Take the two corners (not on the right angle) and join them together to form the pasta into the shape of a Bishop’s hat. Repeat for each of the squares. Set aside till you are ready to cook.
To make the sauce, melt the butter in a small pan. When the butter begins to froth add the thyme and grated truffle. Cook until the butter solids at the bottom of the pan turn a dark golden colour.
Meanwhile, bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil and add the tortellini, cooking till they come to the surface. Quickly drain the pasta and add to the sauce, tossing to combine. Serve immediately with shaved truffle slices.