Black truffle, sage and pecorino risotto. | Marc Fosh


A few weeks ago, my friend and fellow Michelin starred chef Adrian Quetglas, cooked me a small Spanish omelette at home and finished it off by grating copious amounts of black truffle all over it. It was utterly delicious. The warm potatoes, the slightly runny eggs and the amazing of aroma and flavour of fresh truffles was just mind-blowing. Apparently ancient Romans believed truffles had aphrodisiac, therapeutic, and medicinal properties and I can understand why. Rarely has something so simple tasted so good!

Sometimes known as the diamonds of the kitchen, truffles are among the world’s most elusive and rarest fungi and can take years to mature. Some years ago, my obsession with truffles caused a bit of a stir on an airplane. I had travelled to France in search of some fresh, black beauties and handed over a king’s ransom for twenty-four amazing, aromatic, fresh truffles. There was simply no way I was going to let them out of my sight, so I packed them neatly into my hand luggage and headed back to the airport. Ten minutes into my flight home, with the heating starting to kick in, a slight smell started wafting around the cabin. Pretty soon, the whole plane was filled with the heavy aroma that Gareth Renowden once described in The Truffle Book as resembling “old socks and sex”!

These days, I’m happy to say that I don’t need to travel too far for my truffles, as I have guy with a dog who hunts for them in the mountains of Mallorca. There are many different varieties of truffle, but the most pocket-friendly are summer truffles (Tuber aestivum) that come into season from April to September. They have a rough black exterior and brown flesh mottled with white veins. Summer truffles have a delicate but distinctive aroma and are ideal for canapés, pasta sauces, eggs, potatoes, rice or meat and fish dishes. Black winter truffles (Tuber melanosporum) are available from November to March and have a distinctive and powerful aroma. You can find white truffles from November to February, and they have a golden exterior with delicate cream-coloured flesh and a strong, musky, slightly garlicky aroma. They are almost never cooked but are usually consumed fresh, typically by being shaved into paper-thin slices over pasta, risotto or, if you’re extremely lucky, a freshly prepared Spanish omelette prepared by a Michelin-starred chef.

If you make the effort to buy fresh truffles, store them in the fridge and use within a week. A lot of cooks choose to preserve truffles in uncooked rice grains. The rice grains protect the natural moisture in the truffles, while preventing them from getting too damp. The truffles, in turn, add their amazing flavour to the rice, which will produce a decadent, heavenly, creamy risotto.

Cooking with truffles

Black truffle, sage and pecorino risotto

Serves 4–6

  • 900ml chicken stock (bouillon)
  • 30g butter
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 350g arborio or carnaroli risotto rice
  • 1 tsp chopped sage leaves
  • 100ml dry white wine
  • 1 tbsp mascarpone
  • 1 tsp truffle oil
  • 2 tbsp grated Pecorino cheese
  • 1 ½ tsp olive oil
  • fresh black truffle, for shaving (optional)
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


In a small saucepan, bring the chicken stock (bouillon) to a simmer. In a separate heavy saucepan over a medium heat, heat the butter until melted, then add the onion and garlic and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring, until the onion has softened. Stir in the rice and sage leaves, then add the wine and cook, stirring, until fully absorbed. Add enough of the hot chicken stock to just cover the rice. Continue to stir until the rice has absorbed all the liquid. Continue to add the stock gradually, stirring continuously, until all the stock has been absorbed and the rice has softened, about 15 further minutes. Add the mascarpone, truffle oil and grated Pecorino and season to taste. The risotto should be light and creamy. Stir in the olive oil and serve immediately, topped with freshly grated truffle, if desired.

Celeriac, truffle, smoked bacon and thyme soup

The great French chef Auguste Escoffier said, “Soup puts the heart at ease, calms down the violence of hunger, eliminates the tension of the day, and awakens and refines the appetite.” Beethoven claimed that “only the pure of heart can make good soup”. One thing is for sure, freshly made soups rarely get the attention they deserve, but this delicious soup, with celeriac (celery root), smoked bacon, thyme and truffles, leaves everyone wanting more!

Serves 4-6

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 50g smoked bacon, cut into small pieces
  • 1 leek, white only, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 sprigs thyme, leaves picked
  • 700g celeriac (celery root), peeled and diced
  • 800ml chicken stock (bouillon)
  • 200ml cream
  • 2 tsp chopped chives
  • sea salt and white pepper
  • fresh truffle slices or a few drops of truffle oil, to garnish


Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over a low to medium heat, add the onion, bacon and leek and cook, stirring, for 2–3 minutes, until softened but not coloured. Add the garlic and thyme and cook for another 30 seconds, then add the celeriac and stock and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let cool slightly. Add the cream and then blend to a smooth purée with a hand-held blender or in a food processor. Season to taste with salt and white pepper, then pass through a fine sieve. Ladle into soup bowls, scatter with chopped chives and sliced truffle or drizzle with a few drops of truffle oil. Serve immediately.

Artichokes with wild mushrooms, truffle and serrano ham

Artichokes are incredibly versatile, and they make awesome partners for truffle, mushrooms and Serrano ham. If you don’t want to prepare the artichokes, you could also use good quality artichokes from a jar.

Serves 4

  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 200g mixed wild mushrooms, cleaned and chopped
  • 80g Serrano ham, diced
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 120ml dry sherry or white wine
  • 150ml vegetable stock
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 8 thin slices fresh truffle (optional)
  • 2 tbsp chopped chives
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the artichokes:

  • 8 globe artichokes
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • sea salt and freshly ground black
  • pepper


To prepare the whole artichokes for poaching, pull off the lower, outer and discoloured leaves and trim the stems to form a flat base so that the artichokes will stand upright. Cut off about a quarter to one-third of the artichoke leaves straight across the top. Rub the cut surfaces with a little lemon juice to prevent browning. Stand the artichokes on their flat bases in a non-reactive saucepan, add water to a depth of about 5cm/2in, add the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Cover and gently simmer for 15–20 minutes. Once cooked, quarter the artichokes and scoop out and discard the hairy chokes with a spoon. Set aside. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan (skillet) over a medium heat, add the onion and garlic and sauté until softened, about 2–3 minutes. Add the wild mushrooms and Serrano ham and cook for 1–2 minutes, then add the flour and stir well. Stir in the dry sherry or wine and vegetable stock and cook for about 2 minutes, until the sauce thickens. Add the artichoke quarters and lemon juice and warm through, then scatter with the truffle slices and chopped chives. Season to taste and serve immediately.