I love Italian food.
I love seeing the colors and presentations of the dishes.
I love creating recipes or playing with known ones to make them my own. Or occasionally, I actually follow the directions, word for word, and revel in the gloriousness of what someone has already discovered.
(See? I’m not a complete wild spirit! I can follow directions. :) )
I love eating Italian food, and let’s all agree it is probably the most important part of Italian food.
Unless I’m savoring the wine paired with said meal. I’d say the wine selection is as important as the meal itself. (You can make or break the palatability of the courses by sticking it with a really poor wine. (Don’t read “expensive” I love several wines that are $8 or less and they compliment meals so much, the salad is even blushing!)
It’s better to drink water, tea or Mt Dew than to serve a crappy wine with your perfectly crafted dish.
I don’t even like Mt Dew. That should tell you something…
There are several Italian dishes that are delicious, but they take hours to render. Personally, I love those kinds of meals.
But I’m a freak and we all know it.
Then again, there are meals that only take as much time as it takes to cook the pasta. And my family loves those meals and feel just as happy with my 15 minutes of creating dinner than they do when I take two hours.
That really works in my favor on a week night when I was an idiot and didn’t even think about what to feed them, despite knowing they will accost me the moment I enter the door with questions like “What’s for dinner?” or “How long will dinner take? I’m starving! I mean, not starving, because we know I have food and don’t have to wonder where I’ll get my next meal, so what I meant to say is what time do you think we’ll be eating, mother? I’m quite famished. Can I help you make dinner?”
Can you tell I’ve had the “you’re not really starving, let me tell you what it really means to starve and then you will be more grateful for what God has provided for us, even if it’s not your favorite food” talk?
Last night was exactly one of those I’m-not-a-good-planner night. Coming home on the bus, I was going through my mental food box, trying to figure out what I could make on the fly, especially since Taegan had robotics at 6:30.
Then inspiration hit. I hadn’t made Fettuccine Alfredo in too long of a time to remember. It’s quick. It’s easy, and it is inexpensive.
What might cost $15 out at a restaurant, I can feed the 4 of us for $5, if you include the salad and the store bought bread. (I didn’t have time to make this recipe. But I love it when I do! It’s fantabulous! And it would have brought the cost down even further.)
The beauty of Fettuccine Alfredo is it only takes a few ingredients – butter, cream, parmesan cheese, and pasta. Well, five ingredients if you include “seasoning”, aka S&P.
I didn’t say it was the healthiest meal, but it sure is satisfying. That’s why I paired it with a salad, to cut the guilt of such a luscious dish.
And red wine. For the antioxidants. Ahem.
Start your water to boil the fettuccine. Once you have a rolling boil, place your pasta in the pan and cook as directed.
Now here is where I tell you if you want the absolute best dish ever, use Barilla pasta. It. Is. The. Best. Pasta. Ever.
You can use another brand, but oh my lands. It’s so worth it to use Barilla in the first place. And it doesn’t cost any more than a cheaper brand really, especially when you get it on sale. (I look for the $1 sale and buy lots of boxes to stock up.)
When you’ve set the pasta in the water and set a timer so
you don’t ruin it by making it a big, sticky mess you can cook it to perfection (add that extra minute – the pasta should NOT be al dente), in a small sauce pan over medium heat, melt 1/4 cup of butter. Add 1 cup heavy whipping cream to the butter and stir. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes.
Add 2/3 to 3/4 cup of parmesan, stirring to melt and to mix the cheese. Use the good cheese, not that cruddy stuff you shake from a can. That stuff should be BANNED from the earth! (By good cheese, I mean shredded parmesan or a block. Personally, I purchase the shredded cheese from Sam’s. It tastes great and doesn’t cost out of this world.)
Set off heat when cheese is fully incorporated. Crush fresh ground pepper into sauce (about 1/4 tsp) and sprinkle salt over sauce – just a dash or two.
Here’s the different part of how I make this dish. I don’t mix the pasta and the sauce. The sauce should stay separated.
When pasta is ready, drain it and then place a serving on a plate. Ladle sauce over pasta and top with a sprinkle with a little more parmesan.
Serve with warmed bread and a side salad. I liked my meal with Merlot, while Paul chose a Cabernet. Since it’s a light dish, a nice cold Pinot Grigio would have worked as well.
While we were eating dinner, Jadon remarked that this is one of his favorite dishes. Taegan seconded it. Hmmm. I had no idea.
See? Dinner time can teach you all sorts of new things about your family!
Paul said it would be exactly on his diet if I had added chicken and broccoli and left out the sauce and pasta. (He’s a big dummy. I noticed he completely cleaned his plate, so I guess he didn’t suffer too much.)
1 box Barilla Fettuccine
4 Tsp butter
1 c heavy whipping cream
2/3 c shredded parmesan
salt & pepper to taste
- Cook pasta according to package directions for noodles NOT al dente.
- In small sauce pan, over medium heat, melt butter. Add cream; bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Stir in parmesan cheese.
- Add dash of salt and some freshly cracked pepper.
- When noodles are fully cooked, drain noodles and plate a serving. Top with a ladle of cream sauce and a little more parmesan.
Voila! Dinner is served.
Your family (and your pocketbook) will sing praised to you for your divine prowess in the kitchen.