If you’ve been following Postcards from Slovenia, or if you’ve ever visited Slovenia yourself, you’ll know it has stunning mountain scenery, fascinating and beautiful cities, a delightful coastline as well as many other historical and natural attractions. But there’s one aspect of life in Slovenia I haven’t touched on yet, and I feel it deserves some attention: the cuisine.
At the Haute Cuisine level, Slovenia is known for its gastronomy, with chefs such as Ana Roš putting the country on the culinary map. Her restaurant, Hiša Franko was awarded two Michelin Stars when the Michelin Guide came to Slovenia for the first time in June of 2020. But great cooking starts from the bottom up, and Slovenia has a great culinary tradition. Its cuisine is influenced by the many nations with which it shares a border, and varies from region to region. In this series of blog posts, I want to introduce you to some of Slovenia’s most celebrated national dishes. Today, I’m starting with a personal favourite.
Istrski fuži s tartufi
Fuži is a special type of pasta made in the Istrian region of Slovenia and Croatia. Strictly speaking, it is not only a Slovenian dish because it is truly Istrian in origin. But it is served in restaurants all over the coast of Slovenia.
It is a very simple dish – handmade rolls of pasta (similar to penne in appearance, but actually rolled from small squares into cylinders) are tossed in a light and creamy sauce then served with freshly grated truffles. Truffles are native to Istria, so it is very hard to find this dish anywhere else in the world. It is possible to reproduce it at home with preserved truffles, but for the true taste of Istria you need to try the freshly made version.
Where to try it
As I have already mentioned, most restaurants on the Slovenian Coast will serve this dish, and most prepare it well. But here are some of my favorites:
- Villa Andor, Ankaran (reasonable prices and a picuresque terrace overlooking the Med)
- Brič Restaurant, Dekani (don’t be put off by the location next to a chemical factory, this is a fine restaurant, and the garden at the back is a lovely setting)
- Gostilna Nimis, Vanganel
- Gostilna Gušt, Izola
If you want to try making Istrian Pasta with Truffles at home, you will first want to source the best ingredients you can get hold of. Unfortunately, fresh truffles don’t travel well: my husband and I once tried to transport some by car from Slovenia-London. By the time we reached Italy, we had a headily truffle-scented car but alas the poor truffles had lost all their flavour. The best alternative is the Zigante Tartufata truffle paste which is available from the Zigante Tartufi online shop.
As for the pasta, you should make your own: roll the pasta into a thin sheet, cut into small squares then roll up diagonally. You can use dried pasta such as penne but really you will lose a lot of the wonderful texture which is called for by such a simple dish.
Below is the recipe, which you will see is very simple. This dish is really about letting the ingredients sing for themselves, so choose the best quality ingredients you can find to be sure of culinary success:
500g fuži pasta
Yolk of one egg
80g fresh truffles or 1-2tbsp tartufata (adjust quantity according to taste)
- Cook the pasta in boiling, salted water then drain and toss in olive oil. Reserve a little of the pasta water.
- Grate the truffles (reserve some for serving at the end) and fry very gently in butter for a minute or so before adding a dash of cream. Avoid being heavy-handed with any of the ingredients. If using tartufata, heat gently in a frying pan before adding the cream.
- Once the cream starts to thicken, add the egg yolk, salt and pepper and stir well without cooking the egg yolk (if the pan is too hot, remove it from the heat).
- Toss the pasta in the truffle sauce, transfer to plates or a serving dish then grate parmesan, more fresh truffles and black pepper to serve.
I hope you enjoyed the first instalment of Slovene Cusine. If you try the receipe yourself, let me know how it turned out! If you like this post, then share it with your foodie friends!
Dober Tek! Ingrid