Sunday, September 5, 2010

Riso In Bianco Con Tartufi Bianchi (Boiled Rice With White Truffles) + Communist Cocktail

I.  Following is a recipe for what I think is the most delicious dish in the world, Riso In Bianco Con Tartufi Bianchi (Boiled Rice With White Truffles), which I have copied from Elizabeth David’s classic book, “Italian Food” (London, Macdonald, 1954).

      I haven’t prepared this recipe, or even tasted white truffles, for a very long time, but the memory of the flavor lingers and is ineradicable:

Riso In Bianco Con Tartufi Bianchi (Boiled Rice With White Truffles)

One of the classic ways of eating white truffles.  Prepare a dish of perfectly boiled rice, pour over it a large quantity of the very best grated Parmesan cheese, an equally generous amount of fresh, cold, unsalted butter, and raw truffles cut in the finest of slices.  A most exquisite dish.

Included above and below are photos of each of the recipe’s constituent elements. Unfortunately (and I think predictably), the only images I was able to find online showed this dish’s “cousin”, risotto with white truffles, which is excellent, of course, but far inferior in my opinion, to this plainer and purer rendition.


II.  Supplementing Friday’s Labor Day/Vladimir Tatlin appreciation, please find below directions for preparing a Communist Cocktail.  I don’t know the history of this concoction, but the recipe appears in a number of bar manuals and the various versions are fairly consistent.   Personally, I wouldn’t care for it (I don’t like cherries), but I imagine it’s quite good and it looks pretty:
The Communist

1 ounce London dry gin
1 ounce freshly squeezed orange juice
0.75 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
0.5 ounce cherry brandy (Cherry Heering)
Shake until as cold as Mother Russia, double strain into a very proletarian cocktail glass.
With fresh fruit juices and Cherry Heering, this is a little bourgeois for the name. I was initially reluctant to go with the full 3/4 ounce lemon juice, but decided the cherry brandy and orange juice would be plenty sweet, so in it went.
A surprisingly dry final result.

"I can still see the reproachful look he [Trotsky] gave Diego Rivera when the latter maintained (which was hardly extravagant) that drawing had been in decline since the cave period..."

— André Breton, Radio Interview with André Parinaud, 1952


  1. I love truffles :) There were a lot of them in Italy, but they're very expensive.

  2. No. They're like mushrooms except they're not.

  3. Rachel is basically correct, i.e., they're like mushrooms, except they're not (both are funghi) and they are very expensive. They always have been, but as with caviar, the price has gone up steeply in recent years. Less expensive alternatives to serving actual white truffles are using truffle-flavor infused cheese, olive oil and butter, but there's really nothing like the real thing. I look forward to celebrating something great some day and making the recipe that is the subject of this post.

  4. By the way (one more thing) in case you're not familiar with them, the three men pictured at the bottom of this post are (left to right), Diego Rivera, the famous 20th century Mexican painter, Leon Trotsky, one of the leaders of the Russian revolution, and Andre Breton, the French poet who sort of led the Surrealist movement in the arts. All of them were Communists.

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    1. Thanks for the kind offer but I'm not in the market for truffles.