Friday, May 13, 2011

classic fettucine alfredo

Fettucine alfredo, because of its simplicity, is often seen as a vehicle for chicken, seafood and veggies. Our high maintenance palates can't handle the idea of eating something so uncomplicated and, well, boring. One glance at the reviews for the recipe on Epicurious confirms this. Hot pepper flakes?! Whyyyyyy....

I want you to take a moment to rethink fettucine alfredo. It doesn't mean that there isn't a place for chicken or broccoli on your alfredo ever again, it's just that something so incredibly magical happens when you use real, high quality ingredients and you keep it simple. Pasta, butter, cream, parmesan and nutmeg. That is all. Try it.

The key here is that massive quantities of butter fat and a properly aged reggiano equal flavour. Use whipping cream, not half and half. Use butter, not margarine, and use the full amount. Splurge and buy a wedge of reggiano. Grate it yourself, you'll be glad you did. If you are unwilling to accept the fact that you are about to eat double your daily fat and caloric allowance in one sitting, move along. My rule of thumb is that this is a treat I only make when having company, and that keeps it from encroaching on my BMI.

This fettucine is also very simple to make, does not require much prep work and never fails to impress!

classic fettucine alfredo
Adapted from

400g fettucine (approximately)
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/4 tsp nutmeg
3/4 cup grated parmigiano reggiano (plus more for sprinkling)

Cook your fettucine in a large pot according to the instructions on the package. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water before draining.

Throw all remaining ingredients (except for the cheese) into the pasta pot over medium-low heat. Once the butter has melted, return the pasta to the pot and toss.  Add 1/4 cup of the pasta water and cheese to your pasta. Toss again and season with salt to your taste. Add the rest of the water if it feels a little dry. Serve immediately with a (generous) sprinkle of paremesan.

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