Wednesday, October 6, 2010

100th Recipe Edition

Good evening everyone! Stop me if you've heard this before - mid 70's, sunny skies, beautiful weather all around. It's become a bit of a 'groundhog's day' effect - weather wise - here in the metro, but I am certainly not complaining. In fact, after thinking it over carefully, I've decided that it can stay this way for the entire winter. That would be just fine with me.

With the early start this week, we're wrapping up recipes a day early. So, it's Wednesday and we're presenting the last of this week's recipes. Tonight, I took to the kitchen to try something that seemed daunting on the surface, but turned out to be just like any other recipe - a lot more bark than bite. Let's get cooking!

The Recipe: Fettuccine Alfredo
Original Recipe Found In:The Complete America's Test Kitchen TV Show Cookbook 2nd Edition: Every Recipe from the Hit TV Show With Product Ratings and a Look Behind the Scenes

What You'll Need:

1 1/2 Cups Heavy Cream
2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter (Melted)
1/4 Teaspoon Black Pepper
9 Ounces Fresh Fettuccine*
1 1/2 Ounces Parmesan Cheese
1/8 Teaspoon Grated Nutmeg

* It is very important to use the fresh fettuccine noodles for this recipe. You can find these in your grocer's refrigerated section, usually alongside the deli meats and cheeses. Below is a picture of the brand we used:

Begin by bringing 1 cup of the heavy cream and the butter to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once simmering, reduce the heat to medium low and allow to simmer gently for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until the mixture begins to thicken and reduce to approximately 2/3 of a cup. Off of the heat, stir in the remaining 1/2 cup of heavy cream as well as the black pepper and a pinch of salt. Once stirred, return the pan to heat and bring back to a low simmer.

Meanwhile, bring 4 quarts of salted water to a boil in a large pot. The recipe calls for refrigerated fresh fettuccine noodles, as mentioned earlier. These noodles not only cook a lot faster (2 minutes compared to 20) they also taste a little more like authentic Italian noodles (obviously, being fresh vs. dried) and they hold sauces better than their dried counterparts. Since our alfredo sauce is very light - to avoid the 'thick alfredo sauce quandry' that constantly plagues restaurant versions of the dish, we will need all the help we can get to have the sauce stick to the noodles.

Since these noodles cook so much faster, it is easier to wait to add the noodles to the water until after you've returned the cream/butter mixture to the heat (after adding the additional 1/2 cup of cream). This way, the noodles should be finished cooking right as the cream begins to simmer again - and yes, they do cook that fast!

Drain the noodles, reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking water. Return the noodles to their pan (with the heat on medium) and pour the cream in the pot as well. Stir in the nutmeg and the parmesan cheese as well. Toss the noodles well until everything is melted and the noodles are completely covered. Add in the reserved water and toss until the sauce is a nice, creamy consistency.

Season with a dash of parsley (optional) and some extra parmesan cheese (optional - unless you are Maggie, then it's required) and serve!

The Results:

Many traditional fettuccine recipes that you find in restaurants or even in 'do it yourself' kits in the grocery store tend to have a thick, heavy sauce that not only congeals in the bowl, but it feels like it congeals in your gut as well. My experiences with fettuccine have typically been love/hate. I love the way it tastes, I hate the way it 'sticks with you' for the rest of the day. I always felt bogged down with the dish. The mission with this recipe was to create a lighter fettuccine alfredo - that still packed the full flavor. It's safe to say, after tonight's recipe - mission accomplished!

I am 100% certain this is attributable to the fresh noodles. I was sneaking tastes of the noodles as they cooked and I must say they were the most delicious noodles I have ever eaten. Fresh, soft and flavorful, even before they were covered in any form of sauce. Adding a light creamy sauce just made them all that much better. This was, hands down, the best fettuccine I have ever had! What's even better was how incredibly simple this entire dish was. There is no reason you can't come home from a busy day and cook up this delicious dish for yourself!

As you may have noticed by the blog title - this is our 100th recipe here on Out Of The Culinary!!

It's hard to believe we've already covered 100 recipes! I didn't even realize we had reached this milestone until I saw our post count as I was signing on for the evening. Here's to 100 recipes and many many more to come!

That's all we have for you this week! I misspoke earlier in the week when I teased that our big feature would be this coming week. After looking at my work schedule, it's actually the following week. (October 18th). HOWEVER, we do have a theme week planned for next week. Over the past month, we've collected an assortment of recipes using one particular ingredient. Next week, we're going to be cooking only recipes that use this one ingredient. What is the ingredient? Come back on Monday for the answer! Until then,


Oh - and apologies for a week without captions. Once Google fixes their photo uploader so, captions will resume. Right now, the photo tool is barely functional so captions are a no go. :(

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