Truffled Gruyere Risotto
Truffle salt is my latest discovery.
Truffle salt is just a blend of ground dried truffles and sea salt, but it is like magic. You sprinkle it on food, and it makes things more delicious. Yes, it is as simple as that.
That is exactly why Dave thinks of it as cheating. It’s sort of like MSG, which adds umami to food, making it more delicious. The primary Japanese brand name for MSG, Ajinomoto, means “essence of taste.” He’s right; it does seem wrong to use white powder (or even truffle salt) as the essence of taste instead of crafting disparate ingredients together into a complex masterpiece. Of course, I do it anyway, because it’s just that good.
Dave thinks that adding a magic seasoning is cheating, because it is harder and somehow better to build flavor without having to rely on something as versatile and dramatically effective as truffle salt.
Still, you’ll note that he does not feel the same way about salt.
Truffled Gruyere Risotto
2 1/2 tbsp butter
1 onion, chopped finely
2 large shallots, chopped finely
1 clove garlic, chopped finely
1 C arborio rice
A splash of white wine
Approximately 4 C beef stock
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 C grated gruyere
1-2 pinches truffle salt
Set the stock to simmer and keep it there.
Melt 1 tbsp butter in a pan, and brown the onions in it. It helps to cover the pan and sweat the onions over medium-low heat for a bit first, so they end up meltingly tender. The remove the cover, raise the heat, and stir them occasionally as they brown. Once they reach a color you like, add another 1 tbsp butter and, after it melts, the shallots and garlic. Saute those a bit, then add the rice. Stir the rice so that each grain is covered in butter. Add just a splash of white wine, and stir until it is absorbed by the rice.
Add the simmering stock one ladleful at a time, stirring until the stock is absorbed each time before adding more. I happen to like my risotto so soft that the grains are barely distinguishable as discrete entities; if you like it more al dente, you will end up using less stock than I do.
When the rice has reached the texture you want, add the gruyere and stir it in as it melts. Remove the risotto from the heat and add one last 1/2 tbsp butter, then sprinkle on a pinch or two of truffle salt, and stir it all in.
Note: I like to add salt and black pepper repeatedly during the course of cooking, in small quantities each time. I find that that technique helps ensure that I add precisely the amount that I want, because I can adjust it very precisely as I taste the dish during each stage of cooking.