Editor’s Note: Editor’s note: If you missed an episode of “Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy,” you can catch up now on CNNgo.

CNN  — 

In the Umbria region of Italy, most people enjoy their meats. Pork and wild boar are key – and sometimes the only – dishes on a hearty Umbrian menu. But pork is not the only specialty in the region.

Umbria is one of Italy’s main producers of highly sought-after black truffles, the earthy, aromatic fungi famous around the world. The traditional method of truffle hunting with dogs and lots of digging in mountainous terrain can be difficult to maintain.

Carlo Caporicci was able to take truffle hunting and turn it into truffle farming at his family estate, San Pietro a Pettine. Using a method that takes more than five years to complete, Caporicci can produce black truffles that he said are identical to their counterparts in the wild. His daughter, Alice Caporicci, incorporates her family’s produce into dishes at the estate’s restaurant, La Cucina.

The Essence of the Woods Pasta – also known as Assoluto di Bosco – was served to Stanley Tucci when he visited the family’s farm during his exploration of Umbria in “Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy.” The dish combines the delicious flavors of beetroot, porcini mushrooms and black garlic to create a mouthwatering pasta sauce that complements but doesn’t upstage the star of the show – a whole lot of truffle.

“A fitting finale,” Tucci concluded as he enjoyed the dish, “in celebration of Carlo, Alice, the future of the truffle and possibly the future of Umbrian cuisine.”

Assoluto di Bosco

(Essence of the Woods Pasta With Porcini and Truffle)

Makes 4 servings

You can buy black garlic at specialty stores or online. Alternatively, make your own by placing a whole fresh garlic bulb in a slow cooker on warm (not low) for 2 to 3 weeks. It has a milder, sweeter taste compared with raw garlic. Store the remaining garlic cloves in an airtight container.

Prized black truffles from the Umbrian town of Norcia can be found online and in some specialty Italian stores.


Mushroom broth

2 cups | 500 grams dried porcini mushrooms

1 ¼ cups | 300 grams fresh porcini stalks

¾ cup | 200 grams fresh black truffle of Norcia

Beet mousse

3 ½ tablespoons | 50 grams unsalted butter

2 shallots, chopped

4 precooked red beets, peeled and sliced

¼ cup | 60 grams white wine vinegar

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Black garlic breadcrumbs

2 cloves black garlic

3 ½ tablespoons | 50 milliliters extra-virgin olive oil plus more for frying if needed

2 3/4 cups | 300 grams breadcrumbs

Splash of white wine vinegar

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Pasta dressing

1 ¼ pounds | 600 grams spaghettoni

¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon | 70 grams extra-virgin olive oil

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon | 5 grams salt plus more for pan

¼ cup | 30 grams fresh black truffle of Norcia, chopped, plus ½ cup (70 grams) for freshly grated shavings

100 grams fresh porcini mushrooms, chopped into ¼-inch (½-centimeter) pieces

3 ½ tablespoons | 50 grams unsalted butter

3.4 ounces | 100 milliliters white wine to temper the sauce

Fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped, for garnish


Immersion blender

1. Make the mushroom broth: Pour 4 cups (1 liter) water into a saucepan and add the dried and fresh porcini mushrooms. Add fresh truffle. Bring to a boil and let simmer for 1 hour. Remove from heat and strain.

2. Make the beetroot mousse: Melt the butter in a pan and sauté the shallots over low heat. Add the beets and deglaze the pan with white wine vinegar to allow the caramelized bits of shallot to release from bottom. Season with salt and pepper and blend the beets with an immersion blender until creamy.

3. Prepare the black garlic breadcrumbs: In a separate pan over low heat, fry the black garlic with 3 ½ tablespoons (50 milliliters) oil. Add the breadcrumbs and fry, stirring constantly and adding more oil in case it’s not moist to avoid burning, for about 10 minutes. As soon as the breadcrumbs are toasted, remove from heat. Then add a little vinegar, salt and pepper.

4. Cook the pasta and dressing: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. In a small bowl, combine ¼ cup (30 grams) truffle with oil, garlic and 1 teaspoon (5 grams) salt. Clean the porcini mushrooms and cut them into rather thick ¼-inch (½-centimeter) slices.

Melt butter in a pan over medium heat until golden and sauté the porcini mushrooms until they are brown and soft, about 4 minutes. Next, season with salt and temper with wine. Let the alcohol evaporate before adding the broth. Add ¼ cup (30 grams) truffle-oil mixture and let the liquid in the pan reduce by one-third. The remaining liquid will be needed to finish off the cooking of the pasta.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to the package instructions, taking care to drain the pasta 2 minutes before the necessary time. Toss the pasta in a pan with the sautéed mushrooms over medium-low heat and finish cooking with a few ladles of mushroom broth.

5. Plate the meal: Divide the beet mousse among 4 deep plates by arranging 3 tablespoons beet mousse on the bottom of each. Top first with the pasta, then the mushrooms from the pan. Finish with a dose of black garlic breadcrumbs. Divide ½ cup (70 grams) freshly grated truffle shavings among the 4 plates and then garnish with chopped parsley.

This recipe is courtesy of Alice Caporicci of La Cucina in San Pietro a Pettine, Italy.

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