The large Italian portobello mushrooms are delicious and very easy to prepare. You can use them instead of meat for a vegetarian dinner, as a side dish or for a simple lunch together with a green salad and a piece of bread. You can even sneak in a grated black truffle for a more extravagant version.
As side dish that serves 4:
4 large Portobello mushrooms
1-2 large garlic cloves minced
Salt and pepper
For topping Parmesan cheese, grated.
Heat up the oven to 200 degrees.
Cut the stalk out and clean the mushrooms (save the stalk) and leave them upside down on baking paper on a baking tray.
Chop the stalk, and the rest of the ingredients in a food processor. Put the mix back in the mushrooms and sprinkle some parmesan cheese on top.
Place in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes or until the parmesan cheese on top is golden.
At Castello di Montegiove we are lucky to have our own truffle reserve with black truffles. We very often organise truffle hunts for our guests and it is always a great adventure to experience how the truffle hunter and his dogs are collaborating to find the funny little round truffles growing below the ground. For this recipe I am using the black Montegiove truffles.
375 g Risotto rice
50 g Fresh black truffles, grated (leave some to grate over the risotto for serving)
1 small onion, chopped
4 tblsp. Olive oil
1 ½ l boiling warm Broth
½ glass of white vine
20 g Grated Parmesan cheese (or as much as you like)
30 g of butter
Salt and pepper for seasoning
Heat the oil and half of the butter in a large saucepan over a low heat, add the onion and let it fry for a couple of minutes, add rise and let it all cook for 2-3 minutes.
Add the wine and let it evaporate, then add ½ cup of boiling broth to the rice and stir until the broth is absorbed. Continue adding broth ½ cup at a time, stirring continuously, until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is al dente, about 15-20 minutes.
At the same time heat the rest of the oil and butter in a small pot and add the grated truffles. Warm up over a low heat, add the truffle mix to the risotto.
Remove the pan from the heat, add the Parmesan cheese, stir well, season to taste with salt and pepper, leave the risotto with the lid on for a minute to rest, then serve on warm plates and grate fresh truffles on the top.
This weekend we had a great experience with 3 Danish wild boar hunters, hardworking chef Mikkel Karstad and photographer Anders Schonnemann.
The hunters where out early morning and late night waiting for the boars. They all went looking for truffles with our truffle hunter and his dogs and found a nice handful of fresh truffles. Mikkel and Anders collected wild cicoria and herbs with signora Mara from the village and they made a gorgeous dinner together.
Saturday Mikkel grilled the meat from the wild boar the hunters had shot the day before and we all had lunch together in the garden under the trees. It was fascinating to see how everyone collaborated to make it all work out perfect. Anders made stunning photos of the whole event and we all fell in love with Montegiove all over again just looking at his photos.
A great weekend with lots of wine, fun and inspiration.
Chanterelles and Truffles.
This autumn has been humid and warm so perfect conditions for truffles and mushrooms. People are walking around in the forest with big baskets full of porcinis and chanterelles mushrooms. It has taken me years to figure out where to find mushrooms, because believe me, Italians would rather give you the pin-code to their credit card, than tell you where they find the best mushrooms, this is really serious stuff.
We are so lucky that part of the valley below the castle is one big truffle reserve, and we have a couple of trusted people that take our guests on tours to find the black treasures.
To find the truffles you need a dog, specially trained from a young age, as they sometimes have to be found more than 15 cm under ground. It is very exiting to see the dog when he suddenly sense that there is a truffle and starts to bark and dig happily to get it up, then it depends on how well trained the dog is if he hands it over right away or just eats the truffle himself. One of the truffle hunters in this area is more than 90 years old, and the rumour goes that he worships his dog, more than his wife, as the dog over the years has made him a fortune in finding truffles.