leave your inhibitions at the door
For you youngsters out there, back in the day a good resource for new recipes were these things called “magazines” that we used to buy in places called “bookstores”. And get this – if you liked one enough, you could actually PAY to have them delivered to your house via mail. Notice the lack of “e” in front of “mail”?
Anyway, I used to cut out the recipes that looked interesting and put them in a binder. Once in the binder, there was a 98% chance it would be completely forgotten.
I was going through that recipe binder and came across one for the original Fettucine Alfredo. It seems like every Italian restaurant in America serves the dish. You can even find it in non-Italian restaurants, a class which includes that place whose name begins with “Olive Gard” and ends with “en”.
I had always wondered if it was actually an Italian recipe or if it was one of those American inventions that no one in the home country had ever heard of. Like General Tso’s chicken. It turns out that this is actually an Italian dish and there was someone named associated with it. The dish has been around for centuries, but it was Alfredo Di Lelio, a restaurateur in Rome in the 1950s, who gave it the name.
Genius. He took something that was a main staple of Italian cuisine, named it after himself, and now he’s in the history books. (Hey youngsters – “history books” are big, heavy things we used to schlep around school and use before Wikipedia was invented.)
I’ve decided that I gotta get in on that act. So, from this day forward, that hot sandwich with ground beef and a slice of cheese is no longer a “cheeseburger.” It’s Sandwich a la Hedonist.
Laugh now, but your great-grandkids will be speaking my name a billion times a day.
No idea what magazine this was from. Probably Saveur. I imagine this was done as a tableside preparation in one of Alfredo’s fancy restaurants. But don’t get intimidated, it’s super easy to make. There’s no reason to buy it frozen or buy the pre-made sauces. Those probably have all kinds of extra additives thickeners. I served it with some sautéed chicken, but shrimp would work, too.
This recipe uses 2 sticks (16 tablespoons) of butter, but I think it’ll be better with just 10-12 tablespoons. I’ve never shied away from using butter from a nutritional standpoint, it’s just that there were pools of the stuff. On the plus side, it was so rich that we didn’t need too much of it to get full. So we didn’t have to worry about all those carbs or gluten or whatever we’re demonizing these days.
– 1 pound dried fettucine. The recipe suggests that over fresh as it holds together better.
– 16 tablespoons (2 sticks) of butter
– ½ pound of finely grated parmesan – 3-3.5 cups
1. Heat a large serving platter in a 200 degree oven
2. Cook the pasta per the instructions on the package.
3. While the pasta is cooking, slice the butter into thin pieces and grate the cheese.
4. Drain the pasta and save a cup of the water used for boiling.
5. Place the butter on the warmed platter…
…and then pile on the pasta and cheese. Pour ½ cup of the water on it.
6. Toss the ingredients together with serving spoon and fork.
If it’s a little dry, add more of the water to create a velvety sauce.
See? Wasn’t that easy?