Alfredo is my Middle Name

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If I knew I would live after the fact, I would have no problems injecting Alfredo sauce into my veins. It’s easily one of my favorite sauces and I think a lot of it has to do with my unhealthy obsession with parmesan cheese. Seriously, give me a piece of wood, and if it has enough parmesan on it, I’d probably eat it.

In my eyes, Alfredo sauce is not used nearly enough as it should be. Yes, tossed with fettuccine is the usual, most common way to scarf it down. But if you’re not shy you can throw it in a potato or vegetable gratin, use it as the base for your mac and cheese (holy crap, yes), make a white lasagna with ground sausage, put together a dip with spinach and artichoke hearts or just as a dip by itself! Over tortellini, ravioli,  farfalle (bow tie pasta), fusilli (corkscrew pasta). Lord help you if you’ve never had Alfredo pizza. I know this may be somewhat blasphemous where I come from in New York, but if I had two pizza pies sitting in front of me, one Alfredo and one regular.. I’d probably pick the Alfredo one.

Yeah, I said it.

There are hundreds of things you can do with it and thousands if you count the additional ingredients like spinach, shrimp, chicken, sausage, etc…

I know there’s a good chance you probably know all of this. But the thing is, there’s probably an even better chance that the only time you come in contact with Alfredo sauce is when you buy it at the store or go out to one of those restaurants.

You know, the restaurant that claims they’re authentic Italian cuisine when the only thing authentic about them is the Grade-A guano they feed you about schools in Tuscany or their “fresh” pasta.

I’d get more into that but that’s another post. Besides, I’m too busy talking about Alfredo sauce:


Alfredo Sauce

            1 quart ~ Heavy Cream
  1 tablespoon ~ Butter 
2 tablespoons ~ Garlic, chopped
       1 1/2 cups ~ Grated Parmesan Cheese
          To taste ~ Salt and Pepper

 

Notes:

  • Yes. Seriously. That’s it.
  • This recipe will make enough sauce for a family of four. I like to make enough for leftovers the next day. If you don’t, then just cut everything in half.
  • The Parmesan cheese is the most important factor here. The type of cheese you get will effect the taste of sauce. Get a cheap, dollar store cheese and it’ll taste like dollar store sauce. Get a nice dark wedge of Parmesan and you’ll make the best Alfredo sauce you ever tasted. I don’t go all out. Store brand shredded cheese is good enough for our family nights. But if you want to impress someone, get a wedge from the deli section and grate it yourself. You’ll tell the difference.
  • Try and use grated. I buy shredded, as I said, and I chop it up before putting it in. What I recommend is a trip to the food processor if you go that route because parmesan isn’t the best melter. So you may end up with chunks and strains in your creamy cheese sauce. If it’s grated, it’ll dissolve/melt better.
  • I’d keep leftovers in the fridge for a few days but I wouldn’t freeze it. You could, but when you reheat it, it won’t be the same. The flavor, the consistency, everything will be off.
  • I make this in a shallow, heavy bottomed pot. If your pot is light, be careful, this scorches easily if not watched constantly. You’ll be safer with something heavy. Also, try not to use something with a non-stick surface because you’ll be doing some whisking.

I’ve been making this sauce from scratch for a long, long time. It’s another of my OG recipes from when I first started cooking. It was taught to me by a friend in Culinary School, and I was dumbfounded by how simple it was. He had a different technique of doing it, and he also didn’t use any butter, which I’m fine by doing. Before putting this recipe up I made it a few times to make sure I got it right. Tried once with a slurry, once with a roux and once with nothing to thicken it. When I make it at home usually, I admit, I cheat a little and use a slurry to thicken it up. Nothing wrong with it, but if you do it right the first time then you don’t need anything to thicken it up. The roux was ok but unnecessary. It tasted a little different but that could have been from the cold I had that week. Mainly it was just extra ingredients/steps that this simple recipe doesn’t need. Lastly I did it right. What’s the one way to guarantee you do it right? Patience. You don’t need to set aside hours, but you will need at least 15 minutes of standing by the stove. You know, just in case. If you’ve cooked with cream before, you know what I mean. Every time I made it before I was rushing, trying to get dinner ready for the wife when she got home. But if you take your time, you’ll find the slight reduction of the cream and the natural creaminess of the cheese will thicken the sauce very nicely.

How nicely? Let’s find out:

  • First thing you want to do is chop up your garlic, but first, cut off and discard the root end. You don’t want those floating around your sauce.

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  • Put your pot on medium heat and melt the butter with the garlic. Saute until there is a little color to the garlic. You don’t want to cook it till it’s brown so be ready with the cream when the color starts to change.
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Do what I say, don’t do what I do.
  • Add the cream and stir occasionally till it starts to steam. When it starts to steam, add the parmesan cheese by the handful, whisking with a whisk constantly.

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  • Once all the cheese is in, turn the heat down to low and keep whisking every few minutes. It doesn’t need to be a full on boil, so if it’s going nuts boiled, try and turn it down lower. And don’t walk away and start doing something else, if you let it go for a bit without whisking, the cheese will probably burn at the bottom. Give it about 15 or 20 minutes and the sauce will thicken naturally. Give it less time if you’re doing less than a quart of cream.

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  • Add some salt and pepper. If it needs more, add more until it tastes like Alfredo sauce to you. Once you finish with the salt and pepper, you’re done. Stick a straw in it and drink some, put some in a bowl and give yourself a sponge bath, put it in an ice cream maker and make some Alfredo ice cream. ….Ew, no. Don’t do that.

Wait…

Nah, nevermind.

Toss it with some chicken and fettuccine and you have a great reason to never go to an Italian themed chain restaurant again.

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