The true fettuccine Alfredo

This recipe was taken from my uncle’s copy of The Splendid Table’s How to Eat Supper by Lynne Rosetto Kasper and Sally Swift. This is our kind of cook book; it opens with:

The world is divided up into two kinds of people: those who wake up thinking about what they’re going to eat for supper; and those who don’t.

Never a truer word has been spoken. And, just to clarify, I am most decidedly the former! A good sign at the start of the book that I was going to enjoy it, and enjoy the recipes within.

The recipe for the Alfredo starts with a food rant about how Alfredo has been bastardised by restaurants and mass producers – I’d have the same rant about carbonara, which I believe you have never tasted until you’ve had it made from first principles, in the pan, with the pasta. Cooking Alfredo follows the same principles, and has the same delicious result.

The book defines pasta saucing in to two categories: a prepared sauce that goes over the pasta; and a sauce prepared with the pasta in the pan. Alfredo and carbonara are the latter. A good one to remember.

The other sage-like advice is that pasta sauce does not have to complicated, as this recipe for Alfredo proves.

5 quarts slated water in a 6-quart pan
1 pound fettuccine (preferably made in Italy!)
6 tbsp butter
1 cup heavy whipping cream (double cream would do)
2 cups freshly grated Parmesan
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Bring the pot of salted water to a boil, drop in the pasta, and boil, stirring often. Cook until al dente – just under cooked. Drain immediately through a colander.

While the pasta is cooking, melt the butter in a large heavy based frying pan (or 12 inch sauté pan) over a medium heat, taking care the butter does not colour. Set the pan aside until the pasta is done.

While the pasta is draining, reheat the butter over a medium heat. Add the pasta and cream and toss thoroughly to coat the pasta. Continue to toss the pasta for 2-3 minutes so the cream can permeate the pasta. There should vibe very little cream at the bottom of the pan.

Finally toss in the cheese and toss for 20 seconds. Season to taste. Serve immediately.

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