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ELLEN'S KITCHEN
where do I find a recipe
Michelle
11/09/09
Can you tell me where I find a recipe for Alfredo Sauce for 100.
Thank YOu
ellen
11/10/09
Thank you for asking for this often requested recipe, as it gives me an opportunity for a little rant (dust off soapbox).

Fettucine Alfredo, the first documented dish using Alfredo sauce, goes back to 1920. Legend has it that Alfredo di Lellio was a Roman restaurateur who created the dish for his wife to help her recover from childbirth. The original recipe was homemade triple-cream butter, Parmesan cheese and pepper; cream was added to the recipe at a later date, possibly to mimic the richness of triple-cream butter.

Italian Cookbook author Giuliano Bugialli says, "the simple, classic butter-and-cream sauce used for fresh pasta is called by several different names, alla panna or cream sauce in Bologna and Florence, doppio burro [double butter] being the correct term for it in Rome. The sauce is probably of northern rather than Roman origin, and calling it 'Alfredo' is giving too much credit to a restaurateur in Rome who clearly did not invent it."

At its best, this dish has to be made fast and fresh just as it is served, and will NOT hold. In Italy, there are two kinds of heavy cream, that used for whipping and an almost solid cream used for cooking. For this dish you would use whipping cream, which fortunately corresponds to heavy cream, or whipping cream, used in the USA. The French method for "Fettucine Alfredo" is to use egg yolks with cream in a liason that is added to the rest of the cream so as to thicken the sauce without reducing it. The eggs do cook, which is how the sauce thickens, so it is safe; but you can use yolks from pasteurized eggs such as Davidson's if you are concerned. Many American recipes use cream cheese instead of egg yolk, but this can get very sweet and greasy.

That said, there are a variety of creamy, cheesy sauces presented under the name of alfredo. Most do not hold well at all and thus make poor buffet choices. All are absorbed into the pasta as it stands, which can result in overthickened sauces and overhydrated (mushy) pasta.

ellen
11/10/09
Here is the original as posted by BDL on cheftalk.com:
This is the real recipe as made at Alfredo's in Rome. However, although named for the restaurant and its owner, it wasn't "invented" there. At least not in any meaningful way. It's just an al burro sauce, same as everywhere in Italy. If there's anything special about it, it's the way an emulsion is created at the table. The dish is about two things. Freshness and texture.

Ingredients:

1 lb best quality fettuccine or tagliatelle
8 oz very good butter (2 sticks)
8 oz parmigiana reggiano cheese, freshly grated to fluffy powder
Kosher or sea salt
Pepper grinder.
Quantites given are for dried pasta, if you use 1 lb fresh, cut butter and cheese to 6 oz each. Remember, good dried pasta is better than mediocre fresh.

Technique:

Allow butter to come to room temperature. Mix butter with cheese until cheese is completely absorbed, and mixture is very smooth. This takes about 3 minutes at low speed in a stand mixer if the butter started at room temp, longer if you cheated. Put half the sauce in a mixing/serving bowl. Set the other half aside in an attractive dish, near the dining table.

Cook pasta al dente.

Working quickly, ladle 1/2 cup of pasta water into the mixing bowl. Drain the pasta. Add the pasta to the mixing bowl on top of the sauce and water. Carry the mixing bowl to the table, along with a nice, long-handled pair of serving spoons or spoon and fork. Add the reserved sauce to the top of the pasta. Toss rapidly until the sauce emulsifies and clings to the pasta. Dress with salt and pepper. Pass the salt cellar, pepper grinder, and extra cheese around the table.

Just to restate the obvious: Once you get the pasta out of the water, it's important to work very quickly because the sauce melts and emulsifies with the reserved heat from the pasta and pasta water. That's the only heat there is. So have everything in place and ready to go.

Note: This recipe has neither cream nor egg. It doesn't need any either. I've (BDL) had cream/yolk/butter/cheese sauces called "Alfredo," and I ate Fettuccine Alfredo at Alfredo's in Rome in the early sixties. Ne'er the twain shall meet.

 
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