I was talking to Laura a few days ago when I said “You know, I’m starting to like all this cooking. It gives me a feeling of control.” What I was referring to was the control I’ve given myself to measure what type of ingredients I put into my body. For years (and still today somewhat), I was forced to look at the nutrition label on the back of a box or a can. Increasingly, there’s no need to look at a label anymore. Parsley is parsley and cream is cream. If I don’t want to include salt in a recipe, that’s up to me. There’s been less and less hunting around the grocery store for something that fits my lifestyle. It’s refreshing.
The reason I bring this up is because today’s recipe plays very well with whatever it is you may have in your mind. You can choose to add more or less of a particular ingredient if you wish. You can even include something that’s not called for at all. Personally, I tossed some ground black pepper in the flour that I used to make the pasta. I thought that would be neat, and it was. I’m not sure if it added any flavor, but it opened the door for some experimentation in the future.
Today’s recipe is a fast one. You’ll need to make some fresh pasta if you want to go that route, but the sauce can be completed in minutes. I highly suggest adding this recipe to your bag of tricks because it’s almost as pure as they come. With the small number of ingredients and the quick cooking time, it’s not one to be missed.
1 2/3 Cups Heavy Cream
5 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
Regular Table Salt
1 Pound Fresh Fettuccine
1 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
Ground Black Pepper
Pinch Ground Nutmeg
I’m not going to include instructions for making fresh pasta in this post. If you’re looking for that, you can click the link in the previous line. I encourage you to go for it if you’ve got a pasta machine. It only took about 20 minutes for me to make today’s batch. I was chatting the entire time, so it really didn’t seem like long at all.
Prepare the Pasta
I’m getting used to this homemade pasta thing. It’s a simple alternative to store-bought pasta and it’s extremely inexpensive. Sure, it’ll take 20 years to make the money I spent on the pasta maker back, but after that, I’m golden.
I’ve been seeing photos of fresh pasta that looks like the above picture all over the place online. I figured I would get in on some of the action. I think these little nests look great. The only issue I found was that after the pasta dries somewhat in this position, it doesn’t necessarily like to loosen up when it comes time to cook it in the water. I had to nudge it along with my wooden spoon. Eventually, it came apart.
If you look closely, you can see all the tiny specks of pepper inside the strands of pasta.
Again, you can use store-bought pasta for this recipe or you can follow the directions in the previous post to make fresh. Whatever you decide to do, this is the time when it needs to be finished.
Go ahead and grate the Parmesan cheese. You’ll need about 1 cup. Store it for later use.
Fill a large pot with 4 1/2 quarts of water and bring to a boil. Add 1 tablespoon of regular table salt to the water for flavor.
Simmer Cream & Butter
In a large skillet (I used my 12″ All-Clad), add 1 1/3 cups of the heavy cream and the 5 tablespoons unsalted butter. You’ll want to individualize each of the 5 tablespoons so they melt evenly.
Once those ingredients are together, bring everything to a very gentle simmer over low heat.
Once the butter is melted and the cream is simmering, remove the skillet from heat.
Add Pasta to Water
Whichever pasta you decided to go with, go ahead and add it to the water now (once it’s boiling) and cook it until it’s just almost al dente. There’s going to be a bit of further cooking later on, so you don’t want to overcook it now.
Also, right as soon as the pasta is ready to be removed from the heat and drained, dip a measuring cup in the water and pull out about 1/2 cup for later use. You may need it.
When the pasta is ready, drain it in a colander.
Add Ingredients to Skillet
After all the water is drained from the pasta, dump the pasta into the skillet that has the cream and butter in it. Also include the Parmesan cheese, 1/3 cup of cream, 1/2 teaspoon of regular table salt, a pinch of pepper and a pinch of nutmeg.
Simmer Fettuccini Ingredients
The goal with this last step is to reheat all the ingredients as well as to thicken the sauce. Cook everything over low heat and mix for a few minutes until the sauce comes together. If it gets too thick, add some of the water you saved from cooking the pasta. That water is already warm and flavored from the salt. Once the sauce has thickened, go ahead and plate the fettuccini alfredo.
The Final Product
Here we are. A nice bowl of fresh, homemade fettuccini alfredo. It’s actually quite good and wasn’t much trouble to prepare. I’ll definitely be making this one again. I’d like to thank America’s Test Kitchen for this recipe. It’s the second to last one I’ll be putting together from the Fresh Pasta section. Next up, raviolis.
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