Sunday, November 21, 2010

Simple Goodness ~~ Homemade Alfredo Sauce

The Professor and I have been making this sauce for our family for about ten years. It began when our friend Ike cooked for us from Marcella Hazan's Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking. The tomatoes and basil drizzled in olive oil, the green beans with butter and parmesan, and the orange sorbet put us over the edge, and we splurged on this cookbook when there was no money for splurges. We stay close to the proportions Marcella shares for this classic, but a small deviation from her method (credit to The Professor) yields a much thicker, creamier sauce. This is so simple to execute, and so good, you'll forget it's sold in jars and wish the restaurants knew what you know about pasta Alfredo.

Homemade Alfredo Sauce

4 T. butter
1 1/2 cups heavy cream, divided
1 1/3 cups shredded parmesan, divided
1/4 t. ground nutmeg (essential! do not substitute.)
salt and pepper to taste

After draining your cooked pasta (penne is a favorite with our small children, linguine is the standard), place the pot back over low heat. Melt the butter, add 1 cup of the cream, 1 cup of the parmesan, and the nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Stir until the parmesan melts and sauce thickens, maybe 2-3 minutes. Toss in pasta, coating it thoroughly. Then add the meat/veggies and the remaining cream and parmesan. Toss gently. Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve immediately.

Regarding additions:
Grilled chicken is always good. As are fine, steamed green beans. Cooked and sliced Italian sausage works well, too. I often use a frozen Tuscan mix when I'm in a rush. I simply place the still frozen mix in a large, hot skillet (8 of 10) with olive oil, sprinkle with a little garlic salt, turn the heat down to medium and let them steam/brown 'til tender while the pasta cooks.

This recipe makes enough sauce for one pound of pasta and another pound or so of additions.
That feeds our family of five with generous moreovers for the next day.

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