This meal really wreaked havoc on my kitchen. Like, really.
Santa was generous enough to bring me the pasta attachment for my KitchenAid, and I couldn't wait to use it. My sister was visiting, and her favorite is Fettuccine Alfredo. So I set to work. I rolled out my sheets, and began cutting into noodles with the fettuccine attachment....and.... smoke..... and ..... grinding. I turned off the mixer and unplugged, but she never made a full recovery :-(. I can still make cakes and thin batters, but when it comes to kneading breads or mixing thick batters and doughs, I'm afraid she is done. But its okay because there is a 6 quart Pro Series in my very near future.
And then I broke my cheese grater shredded the Parmesan (but that's okay too because it was a cheap one, and I replaced it with this beautiful Microplane). And then, I dropped the lid to my mini-prep food processor and broke off the latch.
So all in all, a stressful time in the kitchen. As we finally sat down for dinner, Joey made sure I had a big glass of wine to take the edge off. I was so mad by that point that I didn't even want to eat. I commented that it'd better be good or I was really going to be upset. And.... heaven. We all just mmm-ed all through dinner. Worth it for all the trouble and broken appliances? That's a toss up since mixers are expensive. But so good. Oh yes.
There are a few things that really made this a standout dish.
- Fresh Pasta. If you can't make it, buy it from the refrigerated section of the grocery store. The dried stuff just won't do.
- Add pasta water to the alfredo sauce towards the end. If you've ever tried to reheat leftover alfredo sauce from a restaurant, you know that, well, it doesn't. The delicate sauce is very quick to congeal and become thick. Unless you eat it in less than a minute or so, this will start happening. Adding the pasta water helps thin it out just enough to last a little longer.
- While cooking the pasta and sauce, fill your serving bowls with hot water. Serving the pasta in already warmed bowls will help the sauce maintain its texture a little longer as well.
- Use the best quality ingredients you can. No powdery Parmesan or fake butter here. When a recipe has so few ingredients, its really important to let them shine.
While I did make my pasta from scratch, I'm not going to post the recipe in this post. Rather, I will link to the recipe I used since I followed it to the letter. I'm hoping to experiment with more fresh pastas when I get my new mixer, so be on the lookout for those recipes!
slightly adapted from Cook's Illustrated
serves 2-3 as a main course
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup half and half
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 9 ounces fresh fettuccine
- 1 1/2 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (about 3/4 cup)
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
As water is coming to a boil, heat 1 cup of heavy cream and butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat and gently simmer until the mixture has reduced to about 2/3 cup, 12-15 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in half and half, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.
Add 1 Tablespoon of salt to the boiling water and add pasta. Cook until just shy of al dente. Reserve 1/4 cup cooking water and drain pasta.
Return cream to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to low again and add the pasta, Parmesan, and nutmeg. Toss gently with tongs to coat the pasta, and cook an additional 1-2 minutes. Stir in the reserved pasta water. At this point the sauce might seem to thin, but it will thicken as it begins to cool and is served.
Quickly pour out the water from the serving bowls, and divide pasta and sauce among them. Serve immediately.