Tuesday, February 7, 2012

February 7: Fettuccine Alfredo Day

Today is Fettuccine Alfredo day!  Let's take this in parts, shall we?  Fettuccine is a type of noodle and alfredo refers to the sauce, that I already knew.  I tend to stay away from pastas that use alfredo sauce, since the white color of the sauce generally lets me know it has dairy in it.  So all I really knew was that alfredo sauce was white and probably had cheese in it. 

A little digging turned up some interesting tidbits about Fettuccine Alfredo.

Apparently, this is another food named after a real person.  The story goes that some Italian guy made Fettuccine Burro (fettuccine noodles with butter) for his pregnant wife who stuggled with morning sickness.  Except he increased the amount of butter a lot.  She loved it and after her pregnancy was over, they added it to the menu of their restaurant.  They called their Fettuccine Burro with extra butter Fettuccine Alfredo and it became a popular dish.

I don't know how Fettuccine Alfredo is served in Italy these days, but here in the US, Fettuccine Alfredo is made with lots of butter, cream, white cheese, and can have things likes peas, herbs, and even shrimp tossed in.  Over at Food Network, Emeril has a popular Fettuccine Alfredo recipe.  Kraft, the makers of that easily identifiable blue box mac-n-cheese, also has a popular Fettuccine Alfredo recipe.  And Betty Crocker even gives suggestions to reduce the fat in Fettuccine Alfredo.

Let's face it - all that butter, cream and cheese is not good for the waistline.  Still, after looking at various recipes online, I thought, "Hey, I'll make my own!"  So here's what I did:
  • Cook the fettuccine noodles.  Really, just follow the directions on the packaging for this step.
  • In the pot you cooked the noodles, over medium heat, melt 1/4 cup of butter.
  • Add 1 cup heavy cream.  Stir constantly, reducing to low heat.
  • Add 1 cup of shredded mixed parmesan and mozzarella cheese.
  • Add about 1/3 cup of Tuscan Sunset blend from Penzey's Spices.
  • When all the cheese has melted, turn off the stove and serve the pasta.
Notice I didn't say how much noodles to cook?  That's hard for me to judge - I just kind of went, "Meh, this is enough noodles."   I probably cooked about three servings of noodles, which wasn't enough for the amount of sauce I made.  You can see in the photo that there's a lot of sauce and not enough noodles.   Just check the pasta box for serving size and figure you'll make about six to eight servings.  In my mind, anything that has that much saturated fat should never be the main dish, so after I took photos, I only ate about a quarter of what you see pictured, stored the rest in the fridge, and scraped the dish with homemade bread to get all that cheesey, creamy sauce.

It was tasty and you can chalk one up on the success side of the kitchen scoreboard, but if I make it again, I think I'll add peas so it has a pop of color.

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