Thursday, December 01, 2005

Fettucine (or Anything Else) Alfredo

My brother, Brian also loves “Alfredo Sauce” which is something I haven’t seen here in Italy so far. It’s a staple of Italian restaurants in the States but here many of my Italian friends who have traveled abroad think it isn’t Italian at all. It seems they’re wrong, though. Anna Maria Volpi writes that it may have been Hollywood’s discovery of Rome in the 1950’s that made Roman restauranteur, Alfredo de Lelio and his signature sauce a big deal for Americans. Famous Hollywood starlets and leading men were photographed sitting at the restaurant behind heaping plates of fettuccine alfredo. The simplicity of the dish may owe to its lack of recognition in Italy. Since it’s so easy to make, why even think of it as a recipe? It’s also full of cream which, as I’ve said before is not well appreciated among Italians. So maybe this dish spread directly from Alfredo’s place to Hollywood to the rest of America without ever hitting most of Italy. Anyway, Brian loves the sauce on broccoli, pasta, red bell peppers and just about anything else. Here’s the recipe:


1 tbsp butter
½ cup whipping cream or *half and half
several good scrapings of freshly grated nutmeg
½ cup grated parmesan or romano cheese or a combination
1 egg yolk, beaten **optional
1 tbsp minced flat Italian parsley
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the cream and heat through stirring. Add the nutmeg and cheeses. Stir until the cheeses have melted and the sauce is uniform in texture, no lumps. If you’re using egg yolk, add it now and stir constantly until it is incorporated. This mixture should reach a simmer (barely barely boiling, just a bubble here and there, no more!) and cook for 3 minutes more. Add salt and pepper to taste. Take off the heat, pour over cooked pasta, veggies or chicken breast. Sprinkle the minced parsley over everything. Enjoy.

*I’d go for the half and half if putting this over fettuccine because, as a pasta dish, this is already heavy. As a sauce for veggies, or lean chicken breast the richness of the whipping cream wouldn’t hurt.
**Again, this will make the dish richer and heavier, I wouldn’t use it over pasta but it could make a richer addition to say, steamed broccoli.


Anonymous Brian said...

Oh yeah. Now this sounds delicious. A definite way for me to stay away from ramen noodles AND I won't get so skinny! I can actually keep some meat on these bones of mine! Woo Hoo!

12:44 AM  
Blogger Susan in Italy said...

I'm glad you like it, Bri, but try to eat this with some vegetables, o.k.? I've tested out these recipes for the past 3 days, and I feel like a baloon! Pasta and cream and butter and cheese and oh! there's a sharp pain radiating out toward my arm! :)

1:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brian wants fettucine Alfredo with chicken and broccoli for his birthday dinner on Sunday. How do you prepare the chicken before pouring the sauce over all?

10:25 PM  
Blogger Susan in Italy said...

You can prepare the chicken for this dish in a lot of ways: the easiest might be to have baked chicken one night and to use the leftovers the next day in the Fettuccine Alfredo. Another way would be to cut up boneless, skinless chicken breast and to boil it just barely covered in chicken stock (or water and a chicken boullion cube) until it it cooked through, 15 minutes or so.

3:41 PM  

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