I’m not actually much of a baker. Despite what the recent rash of Christmas cookies might suggest, I’d rather make dinner than dessert any day.
Tonight, I made Fettuccine Alfredo for dinner. I’ve made Alfredo several times before, but this is one of those dishes that I have trouble replicating. I’ve never really worked from a recipe for it (Cream? Check! Cheese? Check! Butter? Check!) and while it usually turned out well, I couldn’t count on it being the same from one time to the next. That’s why I looked for a recipe to work from this time.
I tried out Giada De Laurentiis’ recipe for Fettuccine Alfredo, but mostly for the proportions. Her recipe called for a lot of lemon flavor, and I just couldn’t see using that much lemon for an Alfredo sauce. So I didn’t. I had a regular box of fettuccine on hand, so no fresh pasta for us. It was still very, very good.
I prefer my Alfredo with chicken, so to that end I sauteed chunks of boneless skinless chicken breast with a little garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning to serve with the pasta.
Giada’s Fettuccine Alfredo
- 18 ounces fresh fettuccine (I used a 1 lb box of fettuccine noodles)
- 2 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (I used only 2 tablespoons)
- 12 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 2 cups freshly grated Parmesan (No green cans allowed!)
- 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
- Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
- Salt and freshly ground white pepper
Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 4 minutes. Drain.
Stir 2 cups of the cream and the lemon juice in a heavy large skillet to blend. Add the garlic and butter and cook over medium heat just until the butter melts, stirring occasionally, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat.
Add the pasta and toss. Add the remaining 1/2 cup of cream, and Parmesan to the cream sauce in the skillet. Add the lemon zest, nutmeg, salt, and white pepper. Toss the pasta mixture over low heat until the sauce thickens slightly, about 1 minute.
Note: I followed the instructions pretty closely, but as I mentioned, I drastically reduced the amount of lemon juice. I added it to the cream sauce after the butter had already melted down, before adding the pasta, and it worked well. The lemon juice did not cause any curdling of the cream. I included the zest as written in the recipe.
The nutmeg may sound strange to you if you’ve never tried it in this kind of savory application, but it really balances the creamy flavor of the cheese sauce. I also like to use a pinch of nutmeg in my scalloped or au gratin potatoes. Freshly grated makes all the difference!
Now that I can make my own Alfredo, Pasta Fagioli, and Zuppa e Toscana, I’m running out of reasons to want to go to the Olive Garden. But those are recipes for another day.