Fettuccine with Spinach Alfredo
Sometimes there are certain foods that there just is not any substitute for. Alfredo is one of them. If you see a recipe that says low fat alfredo, put it down. Step away. Do not give in to the lure of healthy comfort foods. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for recipe make-overs. I do them myself on a regular basis. But when I am hungry for rich, thick, decadent pasta with a creamy parmesan sauce. I do it right.
Bring on the heavy cream!
I once read that true fettuccine alfredo doesn’t really have much of a sauce at all. If I remember correctly, the recipe called for you to heat butter and cream in a pan until hot and then add slightly undercooked pasta. With the heat on, toss the pasta in the cream until it started to absorb it and get thick, cooking the pasta the rest of the way. And that was it! Call me crazy, but if I have a chance to add garlic and cheese to something, I’m going to!
So this is what I do. It isn’t really a full recipe, its more of a method that I figured out years ago while desperate for something quick for dinner. I will try to give you accurate quantities if I can, but I am usually making this on the fly with little trucks at my feet and Veggie Tales on in the background.
1/2 lb of fettuccine or linguine, cooked according to package directions
While the pasta is cooking, heat a knob (about 2 T) of butter in a large skillet. Add 2 cloves of garlic, minced. Let garlic cook over medium heat, for 30 seconds or so, but do not let it burn or your whole dish will taste bitter. Add 1/2-3/4 cup of heavy cream. Don’t be afraid to add more if it thickens and doesn’t look like enough sauce. Heat until bubbling, adding fresh ground pepper to taste. Add 1/2 c parmesean cheese and heat gently until cheese melts and the whole sauce thickens. Add cooked pasta to the skillet and toss together. Taste for salt and pepper. Adjust the cream and cheese based on how thick or how saucy you like your pasta. If it starts to thicken up too much at the end add a splash of milk and toss. Serve as a side dish or double the recipe and serve with grilled chicken or sauteed shrimp.
Add 1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes packed in olive oil, chopped, when you add the pasta to the sauce.
Add 1/2 pound fresh spinach to finished dish, letting the greens wilt with the heat of the pasta. Alternatively, add 1 package chopped frozen spinach, squeezed dry.
Add the zest of 1 lemon to cream sauce.
Toss finished dish with finely chopped walnuts.