Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Anna Sultana’s Fettuccine Alfredo and January’s Two Full Moons


The Twelve Days of Christmas season has just begun. The broadcasting of dozens of mass-produced, made-for-TV Christmas-themed movies has finally ended.
Most of them were interchangeable - a woman has a problem, gets stranded at a quaint motel in a really cute town, saves the hotel and / or the town, and finds the love of her life.
Just a bit of visual prozac to get us through the holiday baking and chores.

Then there were a few movies that I enjoy seeing during December.

One of my favourites is The Holiday, a 2006 American romantic comedy filmed in California and England, starring Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet, Jude Law and Jack Black.
If you missed it, the two women have romantic problems, swap homes (one is in California, one in England) for two weeks during the holiday season, and find the loves of their lives. 
Yeah, I know, the plot is pretty similar to the interchangeable ones, but, trust me, it’s way better.
And the houses… pure house porn!

Toward the end of the movie three of the stars sit down with a plate of fettuccine to help them cope with life’s problems.
I know I’ve often said cheesecake can solve many of life’s problems.
But sometimes, especially on a cold winter night, it helps if the cheese is served warm and with carbs.
And what could be warmer or carbier than a nice plate of Fettuccine Alfredo?


About five years ago I posted a fettuccine recipe.
Fettuccine is another type of pasta, similar to linguine, a wider cousin of spaghetti.
Yes, the Italians have invented a lot of pasta types.
Different strokes for different folks.
Try something new or not - suit yourself.

Fettuccine was a regular part of the menu in our house when I was a kid.
But Ma just tossed the cooked fettuccine with butter and Parmesan cheese. 
Nothing complicated, nothing to write down.
I mean, who writes down the recipe for buttered bread?

Then the aunts told Ma about Fettuccine Alfredo, the fancy version, with heavy cream and other stuff.
Of course each aunt had her own version, thickening with eggs, flour or sour cream.
After a while, Ma did, too.

Back to that movie, The Holiday.
I don’t know what exactly Cameron Diaz or Kate Winslet and Jack Black were eating.
It could’ve been the basic pasta with butter and cheese, or it could’ve been pasta with a cream-based sauce.
Whichever, they felt better after eating it.
And, whichever version you choose, you’ll feel better, too.


Hints:

If you prefer to use margarine or a parmesan cheese blend, no problem.
These recipes also work with 2% or skim milk.

If you want a stronger Parmesan taste, add 1/4 to 1/2 Cup more.

The sauce will thicken as it cools.
If you find the sauce is too thick, stir in a small amount of milk or pasta cooking water to thin it.

if you want to make this more of a meal add one to two cups of hot cooked shrimp or cooked, sliced chicken.

Oh, that fettuccine recipe I posted five years ago was
Carmela Soprano's Fettuccine Primavera - Fettuccine and Vegetables in a Cream Sauce
It can be made any time of the year. Really.


                        Fettuccine Alfredo 

Serves 6

In a large pot place
4 quarts water
salt to taste
Bring to a boil.
Add
1 pound fettuccine
Cook, stirring frequently, until the pasta is al dente.
Drain and return to the pot.

Alfredo Sauce

Place in a heavy bottomed medium sized saucepan
3 Tablespoons butter
Melt over medium heat.
Add
2 garlic cloves, minced
Stirring, fry for 1 minute.
Stir in
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 Tablespoons flour
Stir until smooth.

Add, 1/2 Cup at a time, stirring well after each addition
2 Cups milk
Increase heat to medium high. Cook and stir until it is bubbling and thickened, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low. 
Stir in 
1/2 Cup grated Parmesan cheese
3/4 teaspoon dried basil (optional)
Cook for 1 -2 minutes, until cheese is melted.
Stir in 
1⁄2 cup sour cream (low-fat is fine)
Dip a spoon into the sauce to taste. Adjust the seasoning if needed. 
If you want a stronger Parmesan taste add more to and continue to stir.
Cook until heated through.
Pour sauce over fettuccine and toss to coat.


                        Fettuccine Alfredo - light
     
Serves 6

In a large pot place
4 quarts water
salt to taste
Bring to a boil.
Add
1 pound fettuccine
Cook, stirring frequently, until the pasta is al dente.
Drain (reserving some of the water), rinse and place in a large deep platter or bowl.

Alfredo Sauce

Place in a heavy bottomed medium sized saucepan
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
Melt over medium heat.
Stir in
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3 Tablespoons flour
Stir until smooth and the mixture turns a pale brown.
Add, 1/2 Cup at a time, stirring well after each addition
2 Cups milk
Add
1/2 Cup grated Parmesan cheese
Stir until the cheese melts in and the mixture is smooth.
Dip a spoon into the sauce to taste. Adjust the seasoning if needed. 
If you want a stronger Parmesan taste add more to and continue to stir.
Cook over medium heat, stirring until the sauce becomes thick. Once thickened remove from the heat. 
Pour the sauce over pasta and mix well.
Serve immediately.


About the sky, thanks to the folks at The Farmers' Almanac…

January 1 - The January Full Wolf Moon will be this year’s largest Supermoon.

January 31 - January’s second full moon, the Blood Moon, is also called a Full Blue Moon. There will also be a total Lunar Eclipse.

February will not have a full moon this year. Just the way it worked out.

March 1 - March’s first full moon is the Full Worm Moon. 

March 31 - March’s second moon is called a Full Blue Moon. 

April will have a full moon. Yes, we'll be back to normal.

2 comments:

  1. One thing about these recipes: those cylindrical boxes labeled “Parmesan” cheese are fulll of fake cheese and cardboard. I hope your readers will know that they need to read labels and be sure they are using Parmesan imported from Italy and certified as the real deal! It’s pretty essential for the flavor to be right since it’s a key to the deliciousness of your recipes — which sound fabulous!

    happy new year from mae at maefood.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  2. Happy New Year, Mae!
    The recipes which I post are usually open to variations, as shown in the 'Hints' section.
    If someone prefers using the packaged cheese or a vegetarian substitute - whether because of personal taste, or medical, ethical, convenience or budget reasons - is something Ma would've understood and is fine with me.

    ReplyDelete