LIGURIA TRUFFLE - step by step instructions

Liguria is an emerald gem of a region – what one of my good friends would describe as one of ‘God’s thumbprints’ on the earth. I have long enjoyed staying a few nights at the harbour town of Camogli, partly in order to hike the promontory in the morning. There I would stop at midday at the Abbey of San Fruttuoso – completely isolated save for a coastal path, secluded beach and sea access – to lie a while on the sand, and then take lunch at Ristorante Giorgo, seated over the waves. After lunch I’d complete the hike to Portofino, ogle the vulgarity of wealth and sip an overpriced diet coke, then take a boat back to Camogli for supper. Here, I give you a feast of Liguria’s springtime bounty with a luxurious twist – potatoes & green beans dressed with vibrant pesto, trofie (little spirals of semola pasta) with Australian black truffle, and camogliesi, fat little choux buns stuffed with chocolate.

For your meal you will need: 

  • A large pot for boiling water for the green beans & pasta, and a frying pan for the sauce
  • A wooden spoon

The detailed recipes for the dishes are below, but in essence:

  • Let all the ingredients come up to room temperature
  • Mix together the potatoes & green beans, then dress with the thinned pesto and top with pine nuts
  • Bring a large pan of water to the boil
  • Cook the pasta, and make the sauce
  • Mix the two together
  • Chop the tomatoes and dress them
  • Scoff this & the pasta, then the pud

Potatoes, green beans, pesto genovese & pine nuts

Trofie al pesto is the classic Ligurian pasta dish, a hearty yet vibrant bowl of chewy pasta spirals, green beans & potatoes dressed with the region’s most famous sauce. The same combination – senza trofie – makes for a superlative salad.

Your pack serves two and contains: 

  • New potatoes boiled
  • Green beans
  • Freshly made pesto Genovese, thinned with a little extra oil
  • Some toasted pine nuts

Directions:

  • Bring a large pan of well-salted (10g/lt) water to the boil. Add the green beans and cook for 4-5 minutes, until tender but still with a little bite
  • Scoop out with a slotted spoon or a pair of tongs, and reserve the water for the pasta
  • Add the green beans to the potatoes & pesto and mix well
  • Transfer to a serving plate and scatter with the pine nuts

    Trofie with black truffle, butter & sage

    The north of Italy, Piemonte in particular, celebrates white truffle in the autumn; the ethereal perfume flavouring dishes like tajarin, agnolotti or risotto. But come winter, and the frosts, and the white tubers recede for another year. In Liguria, Tuscany, and Umbria, they celebrate a different truffle – the black tartufo nero. It is earthier and less aromatic than its white counterpart, but with a greater depth of flavour, and it peaks as the white recedes. That same truffle – tuber melanosporum – also grows in Australia (in our summer, though their winter).  An off-season treat as it were – just what the doctor ordered… 

    Your pack serves two and contains:

    • Handmade trofie
    • A bag of butter & sage leaves
    • A fat black truffle
    • A little parmesan

    Directions:

    • Bring a large pan of well-salted water (10g/lt) to the boil
    • Roughly chop the sage, and place with the butter in a frying pan
    • Grate 1/3 of the truffle finely, and reserve
    • Add the trofie to the boiling water, and cook for 5-6 minutes
    • After the first minute or two, add a ladle of the pasta water to the butter, and place on a high heat
    • Bring this to a simmer, then cook to emulsify the butter and water
    • Add the grated truffle to this pan, then the trofie, and cook together for a minute or two until the sauce is glassy and thick
    • Turn onto a plate, and scatter with the parmesan, then either shave or grate the remaining truffle (on a truffle slicer or mandolin or the small holes of a grater) finely on top 

    Merinda tomatoes, olive oil & basil

    Crunchy, mildly acidic & saline, these tomatoes are very different to their plump summer brethren, and to my mind, superior. They are at their best when part green, part red, and offer a fantastic crunch and deeply savoury flavour. Tossed with a little good oil and fresh basil, they form the simplest and most beautiful salad of all.

    Your pack serves two as a side and contains:

    • Some merinda tomatoes
    • A little fresh basil
    • Some beautiful olive oil

    Directions:

    • Remove from the fridge at least 30 minutes before eating
    • Chop into rough chunks
    • Season well with coarse salt, tear in the basil and douse with some of the oil (you’ll probably have a little spare – use it for dunking bread)

    Camogliesi al rhum 

    Camogliesi are, like all the best things, a 70’s invention designed to lure in tourists – originally from Pasticceria Revello in Camogli, a small town just a few kilometres up the coast from Portofino, they were a means to give the town its own distinctive product, and so give tourists a reason to wander in. And they worked – so much so that now not only are these butch choco-coated profiteroles richly stuffed with choco-rum ganache, but the people of Camogli are too.

    Your pack serves two and contains:

    • Four little camogliesi

    Directions:

    • Remove from the fridge at least 30 minutes before eating, or better yet, 1-2 hours
    • Serve on plates
    • Scoff

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