Question: I visit my family in Austin, Texas, as often as possible, and just as often, I dine at Siena restaurant. The dish I'm hooked on is the pasta with mushrooms and white truffle oil. Could you please contact them for the recipe? — Betty Kittel, Lake Charles, La.

Answer: A love of Italy and the simple, flavorful cuisine of Tuscany inspired Siena chef Harvey Harris to develop a menu of "true Italian cuisine."

Inspiration for signature dishes came from Harris' stint at the Ristorante Il Pino in the beautiful Tuscan hill town of San Gimignano, where locals' tastes favor the abundance of wild game and fresh pasta. One of the more popular pasta dishes at Siena and Il Pino is the Tagliatelle con Funghi e Olio di Tartufo Bianco: fresh pasta with assorted mushrooms, pecorino Toscano cheese, cream and white truffle oil — do NOT use pecorino romano cheese because it is too strong and salty. In the true Italian tradition, the pasta in this recipe is not swimming in sauce.


(Pasta with mushrooms and white truffle oil)

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 cup assorted sliced, fresh mushrooms such as shitake, cremini and domestic

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

3 tablespoons grated pecorino Toscano or Reggiano Parmesan cheese

1/8 teaspoon white pepper

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

4 ounces tagliatelle or fettuccine pasta

1 tablespoon good quality white truffle oil

Melt butter in saute pan over medium heat. Add mushrooms and saute until tender. Add cream and bring mixture to a simmer. Add cheese and whisk until mixture starts to thicken. Add salt and pepper and stir to incorporate. Remove sauce from heat and set aside.

Cook pasta in boiling salted water until al dente, toss with sauce until coated and transfer to serving plate or bowl. Drizzle truffle oil over top of pasta and serve immediately. Yields 1 serving.

Diane Howard is a columnist for Hunt House. America a la Carte welcomes recipe requests. Send the complete address of the restaurant along with your name, address and phone number to America a la Carte, P.O. Box 5994, Austin, TX 78763-5994 or fax 512-453-2145. Email: ( ).