Thursday, August 27, 2009

What's Cookin'- Fettuccine Alfredo

This is one of my family's most beloved recipes and possibly my favorite meal-ever. It is a dish that almost instantly reminds me of being 11 years old standing next to my nana in the kitchen and watching her stir the sauce. I remember how effortlessly she cooked. Never a recipe (that was almost sacrilege) but just this innate ability to whip up something amazing and without fail she would make it look as if it was no sweat at all. My grandmother was in her element when in the kitchen. In that small space she was queen of her domain and no one dare ever argue that. It was while cooking that I remember her happiest, relaxed and at peace. She loved to cook for her family and you could taste the love and passion in every bite no matter if it were something intricate and laborious like the ravioli my family made together ever Thanksgiving or something simplistic like spaghetti with chicken, garlic and olive oil. As time went by and Nana passed, my Aunt Julie carried the torch for Nana's Alfredo. I have eaten this dish more birthday's than not and cook it for my brother almost everytime we get together. Now that I am married I prepare it for my husband on special occassions as he has fallen in love with it too.

Alfredo is certainly not health food in the traditional sense of the term. But I would argue that health food is purely a matter of definition. While my nana's alfredo is almost certain to add to your waist line and probably a little to your culo too, it will absolutely warm your heart and feed your soul and in my opinion, there is nothing more healthy than that!

2 sticks of butter

4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

4 fresh garlic cloves, smashed*

1 pt heavy cream

1 c. grated parmesan

Salt & fresh black pepper

Handful fresh Italian parsley chopped

1 lb fettuccine (fresh if you can find it but box will do)

In a large non-stick pan on medium low heat, add butter olive oil and garlic. Let’s sweat until the garlic becomes soft and transparent on the edges. Mash garlic up with your whisk so it breaks down small. Turn heat up to medium and wait until oil/butter mixture heats up a bit. Add heavy cream and whisk continuously until blended. When the sauce begins to simmer and bubble just slightly, add parmesan and whisk to incorporate making sure to smash and lumps. Add pinch of salt and pinch of black pepper. Stir to incorporate. Taste sauce to make sure the seasoning is right. Let simmer about 5 minutes stirring continuously. Dip spoon in sauce and pull your finger across. If the sauce stays separated its ready. If sauce runs then continue to let it simmer until it thickens up. Add parsley right before serving. Pour over fettuccine.Serve with grilled chicken or shrimp if you'd like!