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truffle risotto

i've read enugh about this dish and now I want to try it. I've had a couple drops of truffle oil at fancy places before, and really appreciated it, but i've never had an intense truffle-focussed dish. Now I want to. Where should I go for the deepest truffley experience? (and is the right dish to start with?)

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  1. I had the best risotto with truffle oil EVER at Celestino in Pasadena a few weeks ago. It was a daily special but I imagine it recurs there -- you could call ahead and find out.

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    Celestino
    141 South Lake Ave, Pasadena, CA 91101

    1. My favorite is the truffle risotto at Michael's. Of course, it being summer, they have a squash blossom risotto instead, but check it out in Fall/Winter.

      4 Replies
      1. re: SauceSupreme

        Il Pastaio=yummy!

        1. re: SauceSupreme

          that makes sense, from what i've read about the richness involved, that it would be more of a wintery dish. I hadn't thought of that.
          Would it be accurate to surmise that it will pop up on other menus as that season approaches (if it can be said to even exist in LA)?

          1. re: mr mouther

            Probably -- but not all risotto is created equal. I can't vouch for other places, but most of them make it far too soupy for my tastes. Might have something to do with the broth they use. Celestino's was creamy and smooth, and not to toot my own horn because I'm definitely still in the bush leagues cooking-wise, but it's the only one I've had that's better than what I can make at home.

            1. re: mr mouther

              Forget about oil, you want the real thing.
              Wait until white truffle season starts, which is in a couple weeks.
              Or even better, mid-November to mid-January.
              Wherever you go, smell first the stuff, have them shave the truffles at the table.
              A real truffle junkie ( like me ) always carries a small scale, asks for a certain weight. That would be a 1 oz piece for a table of 4.
              Expect to pay market values, which for LA are about $250 - 350 / oz

          2. Black truffle season around Alba, Italy runs late September and into October pretty consistently from year to year. Therefore, I would suspect that we won't see a lot of truffle risotto dishes until October and November. Someone has to go to Alba to buy the truffles at the auction, transport them to LA, distribute them to restaurants, etc. Fortunately, truffles have a shelf life.

            By the way, I'd be wary of truffle oils. There's been quite a few studies that have shown that truffle oils very often don't contain much, if any, truffles. Instead, manufacturers mimic the smells and taste of truffles using chemicals, but it's just not quite the same thing.

            If you're looking for a wonderful truffle flavor, I suggest going to the Beverly Hills Cheese Store to buy the truffle cheese. It's probably $30/lb, but it's wonderful. A little piece goes a long way because the truffle flavor is intoxicating. And you know it's not chemicals in that cheese because there's a big, fat, black layer of truffles running through the middle of the cheese.

            2 Replies
            1. re: glutton

              As much as I love fresh truffles, the exorbitant price makes them beyond reason except for special occassions.

              But, there are a few restaurants that have a deft hand when it comes to using truffle oil. Josie comes to mind (truffled frites), Simon LA (one of the few mac n cheeses that isn't overpowered with truffle oil, but has just the right touch) and the old Cafe Capo (now closed) had a rigatoni bolognese with truffle oil that was killer.

              I agree that most "truffle oils" are synthetic and have no real truffle in the oil. The best I've found that I believe restaurants use as well is from the brand Urbani; make sure you get the white truffle oil. Great stuff...

              1. re: vinosnob

                amazon's got an amazing deal on the urbani white truffle oil right now...a 2-pack of 1.75-ounce bottles for $14.75.

            2. Madeo. Wait until mid-November. Wonderful.

              1. Cube, on La Brea and Melrose www.divinepasta.com, has a wonderful fettucine in black truffle sauce that should tide you over until truffle season starts. Last year, Angelini Osteria and All' Angelo both had fantastic truffle offerings. Not sure about truffle risotto, but the various pasta dishes both restaurants had made me wish truffles were available year-round and that I had enough money to indulge in truffles more often.

                1. I believe Piccolo in Venice also served a good truffle risotto when I visited earlier this year, but the chef has since moved onto to West Hollywood to open Nonna. I would be on the look out for a similar dish, then, once truffle season starts at Nonna.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: SauceSupreme

                    One of the best dining experiences I've ever had was at Melisse in Santa Monica last December. I split an order of the fresh tagliatele with brown butter and shaved truffles with my dining companion. It was delicious (Afterwards I wished I had ordered a full order for myself). I also had the lobster bolognese with shaved truffles. You can pay extra to add truffles to several dishes and we decided to splurge. I just checked their website and they have dishes with summer truffles and black truffles as well.

                    1. re: foodie21

                      That sounds like the perfect way to eat truffles. A word of advice on the summer truffles -- skip them and wait for the Alba white truffles in October-December. The white truffles are much better. The summer truffles are not as strong and are inconsistent, in my experience.

                  2. I believe I had a great version of truffle risotto at IL Grano in West LA once.