This truffle mushroom lasagne is pure winter comfort food. A richly flavoured mushroom ragu is layered with a creamy truffle bechamel sauce, fresh pasta sheets, truffle cheese and mozzarella and finished off with freshly shaved truffles! This is the perfect recipe if you're after a divine way to use a fresh truffle!
It's winter and truffle season and if you're lucky enough to have a fresh truffle then make the most of it by creating this wonderful truffle lasagne. When I have a special ingredient I like to share it with other people and this lasagna serves 8 or even 10 people. The key to giving it a distinct truffle flavour is to layer truffles in each part. To do this we will use homemade truffle oil, truffle butter and truffle cheese. All of these ingredients help extend and enhance the truffle flavour at a fraction of the cost of your fresh one! I have found that just shaving it at the end is nice (especially if you have a strongly aromatic truffle) but to get a really pronounced flavour you need to layer the truffle flavour.
Truffle Oil - the Good, Bad and Ugly
Truffle oil has come a long way. When I was a kid I remembered smelling one and it had the distinct odour of petroleum and for the longest time I wondered why on earth people were so obsessed with it. But nowadays I'm surprised that some truffle oils smell just like truffle - some restaurants only use truffle oil out of season and it is so good that you would swear it contained truffles. If you find that happens to you, ask for the label of the truffle oil.
However there are still truffle oils that smell nothing like truffles. Check the label, even if they say they're truffle oil they don't legally have to contain any real truffle at all. I recently bought one from Woolworths that was a cold pressed truffle oil and it smelled like rotting onions and when I checked the label it contained no truffle at all, just artificial aromas (you can't always see the back labels when you buy online or I would've avoided it). So always check the label and if it's at a nice shop ask to smell the truffle oil.
How To Make Your Own Home Made Truffle Oil
If you have a truffle make your own truffle oil with the offcuts! I had some offcuts and made my own truffle oil for this recipe and within a day the aroma was incredible. To make homemade truffle oil add a few shavings of fresh truffle to a cup of extra virgin olive oil and gently heat to 50C/120F. It will last for 3 days in the fridge. Please note that because this hasn't been heated to 115°C - 121°C or 240°F - 250°F (the temperature to kill botulism) it is only safe for 3 days. 1 cup of homemade truffle oil will be enough for this lasagne.
How To Keep Your Truffles Fresh
- Always keep your truffles cold at a constant, cool temperature.
- Keep fresh truffles in a lidded jar wrapped in a paper towel. Change the paper towel daily (this is very important or mould will develop on your truffle).
- You can also store eggs and a small wedge of cheese in the jar to infuse them.
- Your fresh truffle will last for around 1 week to 10 days in the fridge as long as you change the paper towel daily.
I hadn't intended to buy any truffle this year (walk in robes were taking precedence this year) but I was actually gifted the truffle by Laura. It was such a kind and entirely unnecessary gift but she surprised me with it one night. She wanted to thank me for putting her onto my accountant Emma. She is an amazing accountant who leaves no stone unturned and she is always on hand for advice. Emma and her team had found a loophole by carefully researching something and she ended up with a generous tax benefit. Talk about pennies from heaven (or from your accountant). And while some people might clutch money close to their chest when they get a windfall Laura wanted to say thank you by way of a truffle.
One night we went out to dinner and she had the truffle chilling in a cooler bag in the boot of her car. It was around 11pm and we were on a quiet side street when she opened her car boot. "This looks so dodgy," she said laughing. She presented me with a jar containing Tommy the truffle. He was a beautiful specimen that she had bought from Turalla truffles and Bungendore and he smelled incredibly intoxicating. And Tommy was the most delicious, aromatic gift a girl could ever ask for that ended up infusing this lasagne with so much flavour!
So tell me Dear Reader, do you ever cook with truffles? And what do you think of truffle oil? Have you ever had one that you like?