Shrooms for Thanksgiving? Yes
Truffles for Thanksgiving? Why yes, says Nicola Carro, head chef at Quattro. Even better if you're planning a romantic meal for two: "The white truffle is well known for its unique aroma, taste and aphrodisiac qualities," he says. Nicola, along with his twin brother Fabrizio, are big fans of the gastronomical objets of desire from Alba, Italy, and put them to full use on the menu when they are in season at both their restaurants in Miami Beach and New York. Caveat: "Use them on a simple dish; otherwise, you lose the aroma and flavor," Nicola says. "Try basic things, like a sauce with one cheese [e.g., fontina] and then make a risotto."
Herewith, a chat with Nic:
Are you excited about truffle season?
For me, it’s very exciting! My brother Fabrizio and I are from Piedmont, which is most famous for truffles. We love them! We love to cook with them. And at Quattro Miami and New York we cook dishes from our home and our hearts. It is only natural that we put them on our menus during season. And we are very lucky that our owners (KNR Food Concepts) agreed to bring them in and let us play! It’s a great opportunity for the restaurant and an honor to work with a product that’s so rare. I love sharing the exotic flavor with my customers. The truffle is the “diamond of the kitchen” and we’re proud to be one of the few Italian restaurants offering it.
Tell us about your dishes - details please!
Delicious! What else do you need to know? Our menu has six different dishes that show how truffles can be used with a range of cooking styles, both traditional to Piedmont and Alba and with our own creative twists.
What is the jewel on the menu?
Of all the dishes, I prefer the Tagliolini al Tartufo, which has been the best seller so far this season. The character of this dish is simple; made with flour and egg yolks, cooked in a beef stock and then sautéed with imported Italian butter and truffles. Delizioso! This dish is the most popular plate sold in Alba during the festival of truffle season. My twin, Fabrizio, and I just arrived last week from visiting the fair and seeing how they are now interpreting these dishes locally in Italy. How do you work with truffles? We import them from Italy twice a week through a distributor in Alba. To make sure that we have the most recently picked truffles of the season, and to keep up with the requests in our restaurant, we purchase about two pounds of truffles a week. We started our truffle menu this season the 6th of October and should run it through the 31st of December. This is the fifth year for the restaurant and the fifth season that we include a truffle menu.
You have an identical twin. Please give us a funny story as to when you confused someone who thought you were your brother. We’ve worked together since we were 14, and have had many customers or suppliers come up to one of us talking about a previous conversation we know nothing about. We like to play around with people and go along with it, or confuse them more, especially if they don’t know we’re twins. Also, since we’re so close, when we both worked here in Miami, we’d end up coming into work wearing the same thing without meaning to, confusing people, even those who know us well.