Saturday, October 24, 2009

Fettuccine Alfredo

This recipe is from my mom. It is the best alfredo sauce I've ever had, because it is so simple and the flavor is very straightforward. There is no garlic, no onion, no spices. It's just salt, cream, parmesan and egg. It makes a beautiful escort to chicken, fish/shrimp and I imagine that dropping in some lump crab meat after the pasta is assembled might taste fantastic too. Serve with a white wine, something dry and tragic and wonderful.

Fettuccine Alfredo was created by Italian restaurateur Alfredo di Lelio in 1914. He developed it, originally, with ridiculous amounts of butter in its creamy self to serve to his pregnant wife, who was having difficulty keeping food down (I'm sure many of us have been there). After her pregnancy had ended, he began serving it on the menu of his Roman restaurant, Alfredo alla Scrofa.

One important thing to note is that you will need a "double boiler" or "bain marie." Here is a nice inexpensive one. Also, even though this recipe calls for no butter while most alfredo recipes call for ridiculous amounts of it, we cannot be under any illusions that we will somehow lose weight by eating it :) Handle with care, and buon appetito!

Ingredients (more than enough for two adults; I made this yesterday and there was a huge serving leftover)

-2 cups heavy whipping cream
-3 egg yolks beaten (mom says, one egg per person, then one egg for good measure. Do not multiply the "good measure" egg no matter how many people you make this for)
-1/2 cup parmesan cheese
-about 1/2 tsp salt, or to taste

Set the bottom pan of the double boiler on the stove filled about halfway with water. You don't want the boiling water licking the bottom of the top pan. While you bring that to a boil, pour your whipping cream and 3 beaten egg yolks into the cold top pan and stir to mix well. Fit the top pan into the bottom pan and allow the cream mixture to heat up. When the water beneath starts to boil, keep stirring the cream and add in the parmesan. Just keep an eye on it. You will see it starting to thicken up and you'll want to reduce the heat. When you can tell that the cream is nice and hot you can add the salt and taste it (I don't taste it until I know the egg is cooked). Keep it on your lowest heat setting till you're ready to put it over the pasta. My mom actually serves this with wide egg noodles, the widest you can find. I know that the Egg Yolk brand actually has super wide noodles called "dumplings," and that is what I have used here.

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