Valentine's Day Dish
Just in time for Valentine's Day! Executive Chef & Caterer, John Paulk, shows us how to make a delicious Fettuccine Alfredo.
The success of this Roman dish depends on first-rate ingredients. If you can find an unsalted European-style butter, such as Plugra (widely available at gourmet groceries), use it here. It has a richer flavor and a lower water content than everyday brands. For the best taste, seek out heavy cream that is not ultra-pasteurized. When you buy a chunk of Parmigiano-Reggiano, ask the clerk to cut a wedge fresh from the wheel to make sure it is not too dried out.
In Italy, this luxurious dish is served in small portions as a first course. Try it before a simple main dish of poached or baked fish or grilled meat.
1½ cups heavy cream
5 Tbs. unsalted butter
2 ea Garlic cloves, crushed
1 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
2 lbs Assorted wild mushrooms
1 Tbs. ea Virgin olive oil and butter
½ Cup White wine
1 lb. Fettuccine
1. In a large saucepan over high heat, bring the cream and butter to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 1 minute.
2. Add 6 Tbs. of the cheese and whisk until smooth, about 1 minute more. Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper and a generous pinch of nutmeg. (Be judicious with the salt. Parmigiano-Reggiano is salty, so too much added salt will throw this creamy, sweet sauce out of balance.)
3. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Generously salt the boiling water, add the pasta and cook until al dente (tender but firm to the bite), 1 to 3 minutes, depending on the freshness of the pasta. Drain the pasta well.
4. While the pasta is cooking, heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon each of butter and olive oil. When it sizzles add mushrooms and cook until browned.
5. Add white wine and allow simmering for 1-2 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
6. Put the pasta in a warmed large, shallow bowl. Pour on the sauce, top with mushrooms, sprinkle with 6 Tbs. of the cheese and toss well. Serve immediately. Pass the remaining cheese at the table.