Truffles are members of the same family of fungi but are very rare and extremely expensive, especially in years that have endured a very hot and dry summer and fall. White truffles are typically shaved over hot foods like pasta or risotto so that the heat can release their aroma. Black truffles and summer truffles, which are black outside and creamy beige inside, are less expensive and often used in cooked dishes.
Mushrooms should look fresh and moist, with no bruises. White or button mushrooms should be very white, and the caps should be tightly closed. To prepare mushrooms for cooking, trim the ends of the stems if they seem dry. Either wipe the mushrooms clean with a damp cloth or quickly swish them in a bowl of cool water and pat them dry. Do not soak mushrooms, or they will become waterlogged.
From "1,000 Italian Recipes." Copyright 2004 by Michele Scicolone. Used with permission of the publisher, Wiley Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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