Simon King, chef/patron of Restaurant 1861, Cross Ash near Abergavenny, shares his truffle risotto recipe.

Recently, the first ever cultivated truffle in Wales was harvested in Monmouthshire – grown over a number years in Matt Sim’s orchard, which was grown especially for the production of this highly prized fungus.

Truffles can be worth as much as £400 a kilogram, and are more commonly associated with the Mediterranean.

I was lucky enough to be given one of these fabulous Welsh truffles, and I can say with conviction that the flavour is delicious.

Also growing here, and being harvested by Matt is the even more expensive Perigord black truffle. The first of these are due to appear this winter, and it will be fascinating to find out how they taste. The black truffle fetches an eye-watering £1,700 a kilo.

One of the dishes I cooked with my white truffle was a risotto, a fairly easy dish to make, and one that is healthy, filling and tasty. The truffle added a richness and depth, achievable with no other ingredient, and I was very happy with the outcome.

Truffle can also be shaved with a potato peeler onto omelette or scrambled eggs, where its magical flavour lifts the ordinary to another level. Other options if you splash out on a truffle of your own would be to steep it in olive oil, where it imparts a distinctive flavour.

The oil can be drizzled over pasta and salads, or used in salad dressings and sauces. Although the truffle seems exotic, its uses in cooking can be fabulously simple, so why not give this risotto a whirl? It’s ideal comfort food for a winter’s night, and not too heavy after the excesses of the festive season.

If you like, top it with a poached egg.

Truffle Risotto


50g butter

1 fresh truffle

Small bunch chives snipped

25g chopped onions

100g short grain risotto rice

185ml chicken or vegetable stock

25g grated parmesan cheese

25g butter


Place the rice in a jar with the truffle, seal with a lid and place in the fridge for a couple of hours or overnight.

Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the chopped onions, cook gently for around 2 to 3 minutes, allowing the onions to soften without gaining colour.

Add the rice and continue to cook for around 2 to 3 minutes. Add the stock, little by little and season with salt and pepper. Stir frequently and if necessary add more stock until the rice is cooked, when the rice is cooked it should have absorbed all the stock. Stir in the butter, parmesan cheese and chives. Divide into your chosen serving dish and finally shave the truffle over the top.