Monday, November 26, 2012

Alfredo for Us All!

{This is not the POPCORN recipe that I hinted about a few posts ago, but I'm certain that this is a meal you will need in your repertoire as we journey head-long into December's bustle. It's one of my family's favorite, fast, we-really-need-to-go-to-the-grocery-but-there's-enough-here-to-make-fettucini-alfredo meals. The promised popcorn recipe will appear later this week...if I don't get stuck in a laundry pile or get drawn ever further into my latest read or break an ankle dancing to Jingle Bell Rock.}

Alfredo. It's the glue that holds this family together...well, if your talkin' food, anyway. Fettucini Alfredo, though a classic dinner in many homes, was new to me until, as a college student, I visited the Olive Garden for the very first time!

I was with a group of girls from my dorm when we made a road trip to the next town to celebrate something or other and it was then that I discovered Fettucini Alfredo. Many more times in my young adult life, I would enjoy this lovely, comforting dish whether in nice Italian restaurants, or from the just-add-water Lipton package.

One day I found myself seated across the table from a young man one evening at the Olive Garden who ordered none other than Fettucini Alfredo for himself! My heart had already been atwitter because of this fellow and now, we had fettucini in common too. Bliss.

A year later we celebrated our engagement over similar plates of Alfredo and breadsticks, and a year after that we enjoyed our favorite pasta on our honeymoon. We've since celebrated many occasions, new jobs, new automobiles, successful seminary exams, in the same manner.

It has been over 20 years since my Man and I began our fettucini Alfredo celebrations at The Olive Garden. It remains our restaurant and we can still be found faithfully celebrating our wedding anniversary each year at a table for two in our local Olive Garden. It is a rare occasion that we celebrate with our entire gang, however, because we've discovered that a table for six tends to lose some of the romance and charm that we've grown to expect from our restaurant over the years.

Still, our gang of four is as fond of the creamy sauce and pasta as we are, so after many, many, many attempts to replicate the Olive Garden's Alfredo sauce, we've finally settled on a contender.

{If you are interested in the sauce that the Olive Garden shares on its website, click here. We liked it well enough but it lacked the taste of the original AND we felt it too rich for our regular consumption...6 egg yolks and almost a pint of heavy cream for 4 servings!!! Yikes!}

Here's what you'll need for our Alfredo For Us All Sauce:
{Printable version here...}
1/2 stick (1/4 c butter)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup milk
1 or 2 cloves of garlic, smashed
1 1/2 cups shredded parmesan cheese (I've just begun using the real thing, the kind in the green container will do in a pinch though.
a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg (dry from jar will work too)
pasta of your choice over which to serve your Alfredo sauce

Here's what you do...

Melt 1/2 stick of butter in a sauce pan.

After butter melts, add 1/2 cup heavy cream and 1/2 cup milk (or if you feel naughty use a whole cup of heavy cream, if you don't you can also use a whole cup of regular milk...just judge for yourself--you know what kind of mood you're in, I'm just here to let you know you've got options!!)

Let the milk/cream/butter mixture simmer for 3-5 minutes, but BABYSIT it, we don't want any scorched milk/cream/butter!

While you're babysitting the sauce pan, grate 1 1/2 cups of parmesan cheese...
{which always makes me think of Everybody Loves Raymond...}

...of course, you won't need as much as Robert up there! Just a healthy cup and a half...

When the milk/cream/butter has simmered, turn down the heat and add one clove of crushed garlic {if you prefer to use the minced garlic instead of a clove, use 1/2 teaspoon}.

Add the shredded parmesan....

and a pinch of nutmeg.

Taste to see if you need to add salt and or pepper and add accordingly. Stir to combine and let sauce remain over the heat for just a minute or two more to get good and hot. Finally, spoon over your pasta making sure not to serve anyone the garlic cloves.

Easier than you thought I'll bet. Tonight we went full-tilt on the cheese and served our Alfredo sauce over cheese ravioli from Sam's Club's freezer section.

Of course, if you like, you can add a bit more Parmesan to serve especially if you've got your own personal cheese grater!


Anonymous said...

Where are the chia seeds? :) Dionne wants to know.

Gretchen said...

Ha! Chia seeds are much easier to add to red sauce!! {Don't tell!!}

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