Sunday, December 03, 2006

Alfredo's Creamy Sauce

According to Stewart Lee Allen's, In The Devils' Garden, St. Clement of Alexandria (somebody from the third century) believed that sauces were Satanic because they glorified eating, which led to gluttony. If Clem had a friend named Alfredo and his sauce was made of butter, cream and cheese, then I can't blame him for making the connection.

My midwest upbringing didn't go a long way in exposing me to a wide array of sauces....unless, of course, it was some kind of meat gravy or had cream-of-something soup as a base. After college, I started working for a multinational food corporation and one of my sales reps, Cathy, was a real, live Italian living in Boston. After I had told her how much I loved fettucini alfredo and that I had no idea how to make it, she insisted on sharing her own recipe with me. I will forever be grateful.

I couldn’t believe it was so easy, and that it was even better than what I had flipped for in restaurants. With this simple success, I began to think of cooking beyond the prepackaged and prepared foods that overwhelm the display space in almost every grocery store. I started to think of cooking in terms of the ingredients and not just the assembly of boxed components.

1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 pint half & half
3/4 + 1/4 grated parmesan cheese
pepper to taste

Over medium-low heat, heat the butter, half & half and 3/4 cup parmesan cheese. Stir constantly, until the mixture comes to a slow boil. About 15 minutes. Add the remaining 1/4 cup parmesan cheese and continue stirring for another 5 minutes. Keep the sauce at a low simmer as it will thicken. Add pepper to taste and pour over prepared pasta. If you’d like to add meat, throw in come cooked shrimp or chicken breast. I also like to add steamed broccoli for a little color.

note: If you’re thinking you’ll have leftovers, I recommend only adding sauce to the amount of pasta that you’re actually going to eat. The cream and butter in the alfredo sauce will separate when the sauce is refrigerated, so if it’s already on your pasta, warming it up doesn’t work out so great. I save any extra sauce in it’s own container and refrigerate it. When I want to use it again, I just throw it in a small sauce pan and bring it to a slow boil, while stirring constantly. It’s just as good as the first time.


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