Alfredo sauce, by sharon

January 18, 2010

I’ll admit it, I’ve been a sucker.  I don’t know why, but for years and years I’ve been buying Alfredo sauce in jars.  I’ve been under the impression that Alfredo sauce is difficult to make.  But no more!  I have thrown off the shackles and seen the light.  And the light is made of cream, butter, and cheese.

The other day, I was poking around my kitchen.  I had some leftover cooked pasta, but C had eaten the rest of the meatballs and tomato sauce.  I spied some heavy cream that I bought for another batch of tomato soup, looked over and saw butter, checked the drawer and found a block of Parmesan.  Of course, I had garlic waiting on the counter because I always make sure to have a head of garlic around.

And I figured, today is the day I try this.  I poked around online and found a few basic recipes and they all seemed pretty easy.  Basically, it involved simmering the cream and butter for a few minutes before adding the garlic, cheese, and seasonings.  But decided to add the garlic to the butter and cook it for a bit because I didn’t want too strong of a raw garlic flavor.  The following amounts made enough sauce for a large, entree-sized single serving or a side dish for 2 people.

1/4 cup butter (half a stick)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 clove garlic, minced
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
salt and fresh cracked pepper
parsley

In saucepan, melt butter over medium heat.  Add minced garlic and allow to sauté briefly before adding the cream.  Simmer the cream (do NOT boil) for approximately 5 minutes before adding the cheese and whisking to mix.  Season with salt and pepper.  Toss with pasta and sprinkle with parsley.

And it was THAT EASY.  I will never never never buy Alfredo sauce again. EVER.  I’m sorry to say that C wasn’t home for this creation, and she was awfully mad that she missed out since Alfredo is her favorite way to eat pasta.  And I’m glad I made it the real way at least once—full fat and all.  Now if I try to tweak any ingredients I’ll know how it should taste.


Penne Pasta with Pesto

May 22, 2008

Last night I made a dish that C and I first had at her brother’s house during our month-long evacuation. That was a crappy time, eased somewhat by the fact that we were staying at a gorgeous house in West Palm Beach, FL with her brother and his wife, both of whom we like very much. We’ve been making it since, with slight variations but it’s pretty much the same basics every time. This recipe makes a LOT, since it’s great left over and I plan to send some home with M tomorrow night. You can certainly halve this with no problem whatsoever.

Penne Pasta with Pesto

Ingredients:
4 links of sausage
2 pounds of penne pasta
2 red or orange bell peppers, cut into slices
7-10 ounces prepared pesto
Parmesan or Romano cheese, freshly grated

Tonight, I am making this with a mixture of sausage: 2 links of Italian beef and 2 links of Linguisa. I was at Central Market and I was bored. Also, I’m using 1 red and 1 orange bell pepper because it just looks so pretty. I really don’t recommend using green bell pepper in this dish. Aside from not having enough of a flavor kick, it looks really boring against the pesto. Add some color!! Red and orange! Maybe even a yellow if you’re having that kind of day. Also, this is GREAT with onion, but I never use it because then C will have a giant picky fit. And by that I mean that she will sit there and pick through her food and separate the onions from the rest of it and I will have bought and chopped the onion for no reason other than to sit there and watch her identify and separate it. So I don’t bother. But don’t let that stop you!

Method:
Place the sausage links into a large pan and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer the sausage for approximately 7-10 minutes. Remove the sausage to a plate, drain the water from the pan, dry pan with a paper towel, and return the sausage to the pan. Brown sausage on each side and then put the sausage on a plate once more. Allow to cool.

Start boiling the water for the pasta and cook according to directions. Once the sausage has cooled slightly, cut it at a slight angle to give you elongated medallions that mimic the shape of the pasta.

Saute the peppers in the pan until they are crisp-tender, then add the sausage back to the pan to heat through.

Once the pasta is done, drain and return to the pot or place in a large bowl. Add the pesto to coat and toss gently with a spoon.

This was after one jar of pesto:

It didn’t look like nearly enough, so I added the second one. That looked good, but then I put in the peppers and sausage and most definitely needed the third jar. So in it went.

Fold in the peppers and sausage. Add more pesto as desired. Serve warm in a bowl with copious amounts of freshly grated cheese on top.

I cannot even tell you how much I love my microplane grater that M gave me for Christmas. It grates everything: cheese, spices, citrus . . . it is the best thing in the entire world. And there is NOTHING better than freshly grated Parmesan.

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