Thursday, July 23, 2009

Alfredo and Such

I have a love/hate relationship with pasta. I really love some pasta, and I really don't like other pasta. I'm just picky about it. There are so many things that can go wrong with pasta. It can be undercooked, it can be overcooked, it can be the wrong shape, it can taste funny, the sauce can be bad, etc.

Alfredo is one sauce that is a repeat-offender on being bad. Not all Alfredo sauces are created equal. Most of them seem to be overly runny or overly disgusting. When I was younger, my mom used to make this pasta dish that everyone in my family seemed to love. Except me. I thought it was yucky. And the sauce was very Alfredo ... esque.

So, tonight I was on a quest to make my own delicious Alfredo. I intend to find a recipe that I like. I'm not concerned about whether you like it. It's all about me, really. So, I started with a recipe from I subscribe to that site, the recipe was posted the other day, and I thought, "Hmmm... I could like this." The recipe is simple. You take equal parts butter and cream, heat them together, add two parts Parmesan, add salt and pepper and the pasta, and you're done. In my opinion, successful recipes should be 1 - easy, 2 - delicious, 3 - inexpensive, if possible. This one could qualify. There were hardly any ingredients. Butter is delicious, cream is delicious, and Parmesan is delicious. Slam dunk. I already had butter and cream in my fridge, and by coincidence when I stopped by Albertson's tonight, they were selling cheese for $1. So, I got a package of already-grated Parmesan for $1 and some bow tie pasta because I don't really like fettuccine. Sweet! (I also got a brick of Muenster and a brick of cheddar. Seriously, $1?)

So, how did it turn out? Well, I didn't really like it. I KNOW! How could I not like butter, cream, and cheese mixed together? Yeah, well, I'm not sure. That is why I am on a quest to find a good recipe. I'm not sure the butter was tickling my fancy. I seem to like pasta when there is a good portion of olive oil used on it. Do you think that I could substitute the butter with olive oil? And, there was something missing. It's like it needed ... garlic or something. It definitely needed more salt, but that's totally my fault. I didn't add enough. And the Parmesan was maybe too strong, I thought. Do you think it would work if I used an Italian blend next time? Help me out here, please.

Also, what is up with forks? I can't really complain because I don't own forks, and my apartment just has community forks, but when I opened up the drawer, all the forks had these enormously long tines.

And it's not just my apartment, either. If you go to some restaurants or stores that sell forks, a good portion of them will have forks with tines that are crazy long. Crazy long, I tell you! It's like the fork manufacturers actually want you to stab the back of your mouth with their creepily-long fork tines. It's dangerous, I say!


Mellissa said...

This comment will be lenghty because I'm giving you my recipe for Alfredo. It took me a lot of experimenting and mixing of other people's recipes to come up with the right one. I love it, I think it's much better than Olive Garden's Alfredo, and it has that garlic taste you're looking for. Good luck!

Really Good Alfredo
1/2 cup butter
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup flour
5-6 oz. freshly grated Parmesan
1/8-1/4 tsp garlic salt
pepper to taste

Combine Parmesan cheese, flour, garlic salt, and pepper in a small bowl.

In a medium saucepan combine butter and cream. Cook over medium heat until butter melts and milk just begins to steam, as you don't want to scald the milk. Add the cheese mixture and whisk or stir with a fork until cheese begins to melt. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue stirring frequently as sauce burns easily. Once the sauce has thickened, remove it from the heat and serve it over al dente penne noodles.

Have fun, Cardine!

p.s. If you have leftovers they might look like a bowl of hard cheese when you get them out of the fridge. Just add a little milk (or cream if you have extra) to reconstitute the sauce. It might be a little thinner, but it won't be separated into grossness.

cash said...

Cardine, you sound a little like Andy Rooney when you rant about forks.

dub said...

Yes, you definitely need some garlic for a good Alfredo sauce. And butter. Mellissa's recipe sounds really good.

So Cardine, have you ever even had an Alfredo sauce that you really liked? (If so, where?) Some people just aren't meant to eat certain foods. There's no shame in that, especially when the main ingredients happen to be butter, cream and cheese.

Cardine said...

Mellissa - Thanks for the recipe suggestion! I will let you know how it goes. I think I'll 1/4 the recipe for the first try.

dub - I like Bruno's Alfredo with their tortelloni. And I usually like Rose Alfredos. I'm not sure why the rose is okay but the regular is not. It could be... acidity? More salt? Who knows?

Cardine said...

cash - I do?

Anonymous said...

I've discovered that sometimes I just don't enjoy my own cooking. Someone could make the exact same recipe, the exact same way, but I'll enjoy it more because I didn't have to make it and think about it and look at it and smell it during the process.

julie said...

I've heard good things about Missy's recipe, though I've never had the opportunity to try it yet. I am a big fan of alfredo sauce, almost every recipe I've ever had. Hmmm. That may not be a good thing. :)

Cardine said...

Sarah - I hear you. Sometimes I don't like my own cooking, too.

Julie - That's good. Some people just like it a lot. Me, I don't.


Mellissa - THANK YOU! I tried it tonight, and it was delicious! I fourthed the recipe, and in so doing, I think I might have put a little too much Parmesan in, but it was delicious still! I also probably put more garlic salt in than I needed, but it was fine by me. Thank you so much for this recipe! I can't wait to finish off the cheesy mass that's in my fridge now!

julie said...

I have GOT to try Missy's recipe! If a non-alfredo lover like you enjoys it, it must be a good recipe.

Sigh. The only problem...pasta is not currently on my "To Eat" list. As soon as it is, though, I'm trying this recipe!

Cardine said...

Can you just do chicken alfredo without the pasta? That would be tasty. Of course, the alfredo is highly caloric, I'm sure, so maybe we're all better off if we refrain from eating it.

Cardine said...

PS Emily also made an alfredo last night, and it was good. I think it was olive oil-based.