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Saturday, May 22, 2010

Fettucine Alfredo

I found this recipe in an Italian cookbook while I was living in Florida.  I started making it then and it has become a family favorite.  It's also a signature dish for me so I must really love you guys to be sharing it!

The alfredo can be tricky as sometimes the butter and the cheese separate - it's a timing thing but I haven't figured it out enough to tell you how to avoid it, even after 16 years of making it, except to say do not overcook it.  But it's still good even when the butter separates.

One thing about this recipe - I can't eat fettucine alfredo out anymore because 90% of restaurants use black pepper in their recipes instead of white pepper and no nutmeg.  It's just not as good.

Classic Fettucine Alfredo

3/4 lb uncooked dry fettucine*
6 T unsalted butter (I've also used margarine)
2/3 c. heavy whipping cream
1/2 t. salt
Generous dash ground white pepper
Generous dash ground nutmeg
1 c grated Parmesan cheese

1.  Cook dry fettucine in large pot of boiling water 6-8 minutes; remove from heat and set aside.

2.  Place a large, heavy skillet on the burner used for the boiling water**.  Place butter and cream in skillet over medium-low heat.  Cook and stir until butter melts and mixture just starts to bubble.  Cook and stir 2 minutes more.  Stir in salt, pepper and nutmeg.***  I tend to put the pepper and nutmeg (individually) in my hand and then rub my hands together over the skillet.  The rubbing seems to release some of the fragrances.

3.  Remove from heat.  Gradually stir in cheese until thoroughly blended and smooth.  Return briefly to heat to completely blend cheese if necessary.  (Do not let sauce bubble or cheese will become lumpy and tough).

4.  Drain water from fettucine and then dump into skillet with sauce (or pour sauce over fettucine in pot).  Stir and toss with 2 forks for 2 to 3 minutes.

Serve immediately.****

*  I just grab what it looks like my family will eat.   I also tend to go a little less than probably the recipe calls for because we like it heavy on the sauce (opposite of the way I like my spaghetti).

** I've learned this trick - the sauce will cook much faster this way and my family can never wait for this to be ready.

*** Don't procrastinate gathering your ingredients until it's time to put them in!  You will end up overcooking the butter/cream and it could separate.

**** I love freezer cooking and meals that can be prepared ahead of time but this is NOT one of them!  It does not reheat very well (butter and cream definitely separate).

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