Saturday, June 1, 2013

Light Fettuccine Alfredo

When you think of the classic Alfredo recipe (a cream and cheese sauce), you don't think light.  In fact you usually think that it will be so rich you won't be able to eat much of it.  So this week I decided to try and lighten up the recipe.  Kevin and I had been at Trattoria No. 10 in Chicago recently and had a similar dish and I thought I could recreate it at home.

Spinach Linguine with Langoustinos in a Light Alfredo Sauce
A creamy, delicious traditional Alfredo sauce is made with a handful of ingredients that add up to a wonderful flavor and texture in the mouth but landing heavily in the stomach.  The original recipe  was created by restaurateur Alfredo di Lello in Rome in the 1920's.  His now classic dish, Fettuccine Alfredo, combined fettuccine noodles with a sauce made of butter, heavy cream, and Parmesan cheese, with a generous grindings of pepper to help offset all that richness. While Fettuccine Alfredo is still a classic dish in Italian restaurants, the sauce is also used in many other recipes, from casseroles to pizzas.

Now you are probably thinking that you can buy jars of Alfredo sauce at your local grocery and that these will be just as good as what you could make at home. Au contraire!  Check the label on these products.  Some use cream cheese or food starches as thickeners, which changes the sauce's hallmark butter, cream, and Parmesan flavors. And these sauces are far from light. If you follow my recipe below you will find you can have a homemade dish that delights your family and friends in under an hour.

Below I give you my recipe for a complete dish with shellfish and spinach linguine.  But you can use this same light sauce over any pasta and you can easily remove the shellfish or substitute it with broccoli florets or any other item of your choosing.

Spinach Linguine with Langoustinos in a Light Alfredo Sauce
16 ounces cooked langoustinos or similar shellfish
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 cup white wine
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups milk (2%, whole or half and half)
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese plus more to sprinkle when served
16 ounces dry pasta, spinach linguine
Salt to taste 
Pepper, a large fresh grind about 1/8 teaspoon

If your shellfish or broccoli florets are frozen, thaw them and drain any liquid.  Set a large deep skillet over medium heat.  If using shellfish, saute for a minute or two in butter.  Remove shellfish to a separate dish and set aside.  Add the onion and saute for about 4-5 minutes and turn up the heat to medium high heat and cook stirring regularly until soft.

Start a large pot of water over high heat in which you will boil the pasta.  Add two tablespoons of olive oil to the water and a generous portion (about 3 tablespoons) of salt.  When the water begins to boil, add dry pasta and cook according to package directions.

Add the chopped garlic and saute with the onion for a minute.  Add the white wine and stir to remove any bits from the bottom of the skillet.  Stir in the flour and cook for a minute or two and then whisk in the chicken broth and milk.  Reduce heat to medium and cook until thickened, stirring regularly.  When the mixture just begins to bubble stir in the shredded Parmesan cheese.  Taste and add any salt as needed.  Grind the fresh peppercorns into the sauce.

Move the pasta into the sauce using tongs being careful not to transfer too much of the pasta water.  Add the shellfish and toss together.  Remove from heat and serve with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.

1 comment:


    With reference of your article we have the pleasure to tell you the history of our grandfather Alfredo Di Lelio, who is the creator of “fettuccine all’Alfredo” in 1908 in restaurant run by his mother Angelina in Rome, Piazza Rosa (Piazza disappeared in 1910 following the construction of the Galleria Colonna / Sordi).
    Alfredo di Lelio opened the restaurant “Alfredo” in 1914 in Rome, after leaving the restaurant of his mother Angelina. In this local spread the fame, first to Rome and then in the world, of “fettuccine all’Alfredo”.
    In 1943, during the war, Di Lelio sold the restaurant to others outside his family.
    In 1950 Alfredo Di Lelio decided to reopen with his son Armando his restaurant in Piazza Augusto Imperatore n.30 "Il Vero Alfredo" (“Alfredo di Roma”), which is now managed by his nephews Alfredo and Ines, with the famous “gold cutlery”” (fork and spoon gold) donated in 1927 by two well-known American actors Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks (in gratitude for the hospitality).
    See also the site of “Il Vero Alfredo”
    We must clarify that other restaurants "Alfredo" in Rome do not belong to the family tradition of "Il Vero Alfredo" in Rome.
    We inform that the restaurant “Il Vero Alfredo” is in the registry of “Historic Shops of Excellence” of the City of Rome Capitale.
    Best regards Alfredo e Ines Di Lelio