I love the word frivolous, mainly because it is only used to insult others. Lawsuits, conversations, and people are often derided as “frivolous,” but I’ve never met a person who applies the word to themselves.
Well, I’m here to change all that. Here’s to frivolity! Yes, sometimes I want to say and do frivolous things …like eat white truffles from Alba. I don’t mean to belittle these fragrant little tubers or their cultivators by calling them frivolous, but they are, after all, only found during two months of the year, with the help of specially trained dogs, and are then flown to New York or other far flung places, only to be eaten in microscopic amounts, by swooning gourmands who pay outrageous prices for the opportunity. Call me old-fashioned, but this is the very definition of frivolous. (And delicious too.)
Our friend Alicia B., a noted New Orleans bankruptcy attorney, and certainly not a frivolous woman, recently sent me a frivolous email: “Edwin, white truffles are in season, and are tastier and cheaper than ever. This is a subtle hint for Sunday Pasta.” She is correct. White truffles from Alba, due to a bumper crop this year, are down to $2,500 per pound (except for the 4-pound mega-truffle, for which a Russian billionaire recently paid $95,000).
And so today, we put the serious and troubling aside, as we frivol away with Tagliolini al Tartufo Bianco! (And tomorrow, we eat stale bread and water).
p.s. Check out our wine pairings to complement this dish.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
Clean the truffle with a soft brush or damp cloth. Remove the stem and grate half of the truffle.
Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook until al dente (about one minute less than the package's instructions).
In a large skillet, melt the butter over low heat. Add the grated truffle to the butter. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Drain the pasta, and add it to the skillet with the butter. Add the Parmigiano and mix thoroughly until the pasta is well-coated. Place the pasta into serving bowls, and grate the remaining truffle on top of each serving.