Here we go! The Giro opened with a Team Time Trial  resulting in HTC taking the first lead in the race. Stage Two brings us to the city of Alba . And, we know what that means – truffles! Wait, what?! Okay, let me explain. These little underground mushrooms are coveted by chefs and foodies the world round. The area around Alba apparently sprouts some of the most delicious and rare and expensive truffles (convenient if you’re an Alba farmer, no?). Before you wrangle up your truffle pig and head to the trees, you can make it a bit easier on yourself and head to the International Truffle Fair held every October in Alba. (Nota bene: truffles were consumed avidly by Madame Pompadour. There is some debate if she was eating them to increase her desire for her man, King Louis XIV, or out of fear of being too frigid for him. Riiiight.)
The unfortunately popular consensus is that mere mortals can’t sup on fresh truffles without taking out a second mortgage on our house. But really, it’s worth keeping a small bottle of quality truffle oil  in your cabinet so you can enjoy this wonderful flavor from time to time.
The truffled potatoes described below feature an Italian cheese which is believed to have been first produced in the Lombardy region. Although it’s not as “old” as the Gorgonzola recipe , Mascarpone  was brought into the world sometime in the late 1500’s to early 1600’s. Again, a notice to us non-meat eaters – reach for the vegetarian Marscarpone. (I had no trouble finding it here in the US in Whole Foods.) Of course, that still won’t let you hide from the very high fat content in this rich, sweet, creamy cream cheese. Some things are pretty much unavoidable. That said, I substituted skim milk for the whole milk that was asked for in the original recipe. I also reduced the amount of butter called for in the recipe. (I kept the original butter amount below, but feel free to reduce based on your taste.)
I will place an asterisk on this recipe when I’m charged to bring something to a Thanksgiving feast or have to feed an army of non-calorie counting souls. An easy side-dish to make, but you can certainly call them “not your same old mashed potatoes”.
Wine pairing: With the truffle and the potato flavors, you’re looking something bright and earthy. It’s time to reach for the Pinot Noir or, if you’re into the white stuff, a Pinot Grigio.
Truffled Potato Purée with Mascarpone
Bon Appétit  | May 2008
- 3 1/2 pounds medium Yukon Gold potatoes
- 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter
- 1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
- Whole milk (I substituted skim milk with problems)
- 2 teaspoons black truffle sauce or truffle oil