There's a day dedicated to Fettuccini Alfredo (February 7). Who knew? But if any food deserved a national holiday, I'm on board with this.
One of my best friends is Italian. Raging Italian. As in I'm not allowed to to say certain words in front of her, like proscuitto, unless I'm also copping a half-decent Italian-American accent.
My Southern-US-Transplanted-Canadian-Fake-Italian accent is an endless source of delight to other Italians who may be in the vicinity of us while we're shopping, and trust me, living in Hamilton? There are many. This is also awkward because I love Italian food, so we discuss it frequently, so I should probably hire a professional voice tutor.
Spaghetti with Olive Oil and Garlic
I have it on good authority that Italians can't believe some of the stuff we call Italian food and how we eat it. Knowing what I do of the culture, I'm not really surprised. Italians love food, and Italian food is all about delighting in the flavour of fresh, simple, quality ingredients. When you buy a jar of alfredo sauce in the store, it is not any of those things.
Your average jar of store-bought alfredo sauce has like 10-15 ingredients, and at least half of them are thickeners and preservatives. REAL alfredo sauce, at heart, is just THREE ingredients: butter, cream, cheese.
I swear. That's it. You might have as many as five or six ingredients if you get a little saucy (badum-ching!) and add in some craziness like garlic or nutmeg, plus salt and pepper.
So let this be a lesson: if your alfredo sauce has an unpronouncable ingredient with more than 9 letters in it, or contains any hyphens, you might be doing it wrong.
I can't believe how people cheat themselves out of the joy that is real alfredo sauce. Maybe the reason why is people don't understand how easy (and fast) it is to make (seriously, like 2-3 minutes tops). If you were a fan of my Spaghetti e Olio, you know how fast that comes together! Imagine that while you're waiting for the pasta to drain, you drop a pat of butter and pour a little cream into the bottom of the pasta pot, melt the butter, thicken it with a little grated parmesan, and stir the pasta back in.
Don't use a can of cheap parmesan for this one--you will be very sad (sorry big brands, but it's true). Go to the deli area and get them to point you at the tubs of grated Reggiano. While you're there, grab yourself a rotisserie chicken if you want to add a little something-something, and slice some up to top your pasta.
Then prop your feet up and bask in the adoration of your family members while you make them do the dishes.
1 LB (450g) fettuccini pasta - fresh (soft, not dried) if possible
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus extra to serve
2 tbsp butter
1 cup heavy cream, divided
Salt, fresh-cracked pepper, and ground nutmeg
Grilled or roasted chicken (optional)
Bring a large pot of lightly-salted water to a boil.
Add the pasta, and cook 2-3 minutes (if fresh), or 7-8 minutes (if dried), until tender but still firm to bite. Drain the fettuccini in the sink, but do not rinse.
After pouring the fettuccini into the colander, return the pot to the stove and reduce heat to medium-low. Add the butter and about 2/3 of the cream. Once the butter is fully melted and the cream is hot (but not boiling), return the pasta to the pot, and toss to coat. Sprinkle the pasta with the cheese, a dash of ground nutmeg, and additional salt and cracked pepper as you toss it, allowing it to heat through. If sauce becomes a little dry or lumpy, add a splash more cream.
Serve immediately. Garnish with chicken and fresh chopped parsley, if desired.