Dishes Cooked With Truffle: Nebbiolo
photo: pork belly drizzled in truffle oil, a dish produced by Evan and Jen Doughty. Photo by John Gottberg
If there’s one culinary treat that highlights the fare of Northern Italy it is truffle. Fields in Piedmont are well protected and kept secret from the general public. Extents to protect the location of these sacred fields is further kept hidden by night time only harvests wherein specially trained dogs and sometimes pigs are led into the woods to sniff out the prized truffles.
Piedmont’s other treat comes in the form of outstanding and ageworthy red wine. Of all the wines produced in this region, those produced from the grape Nebbiolo are held in the highest regard. It is the grape used to produce the King of Italian reds, Barolo. Though the Barolo is the highest quality premium red produced from Nebbiolo it isn’t the only wine produced from this grape type. More affordable bottles labeld “Spanna” or “Langhe Rosso” are produced from Nebbiolo and they are the perfect pick for pairing with foods drizzled with truffle.
I have the pleasure of an outstanding Sunday meal tradition that takes place in the company of my brother and sister-in-law. The deal is that they cook and I bring the wine and one of the finest dishes we have had recently is a butternut squash ravioli sprinkled with arugula, parmigiano reggiano cheese and drizzled with truffle oil. The food by itself is out of this world by itself, but if paired with a good Langhe Rosso such as Roagna’s 2004 Langhe Rosso, the dish is outstanding bringing out a smoky and heady earthiness from the wine that is sure to provide an ethereal culinary experience. If truffle isn’t your thing, don’t sweat it. Try any Nebbiolo-based wine with slow braised stews or meats and even thick pastas as the richness of these dishes marries rather well with the bold and tannic wine.