October 21, 2009

A Special Meal for a Hungry College Student

My brother is home from college this week and graced me with his presence tonight for an apartment-cooked meal on the hotplate.  Naturally, I wanted to do something special.  After doing a little grocery shopping and walking him around the village, we were ready to hang out and chat.  So my choice of a quick Fettuccine Alfredo, which is simple but decadent, turned out to be the perfect meal.  I’ve never attempted an Alfredo sauce before, so I would definitely tweak this recipe the next time I tried it, but it’s a wonderful meal for a tiny kitchen.  Everything is done in 2 pots maximum and there are only 6 basic ingredients.  The one twist that I threw in was asparagus, an inspiration from a recent meal in Boston.  Plus, I love that this recipe has lemon zest in it, which I think goes perfectly with asparagus. 

On the two burner hotplate, I found it easiest to cook the sauce on one, and the pasta on the other.  Once I added the cooked pasta to the sauce, I quickly steamed the asparagus in the same pasta pot and then added them to the sauce as well.

I made sure to get the best ingredients and would highly recommend using fresh fettuccine if you can find it!  It’s not that much more expensive, but absolutely makes the meal special.  Although, I’m not going to lie to you – this dish is not for the feint of heart.  Literally.  As Giada De Lauentis describes it, this is definitely an indulgence.

Fettuccine Alfredo (adapted only slightly from Giada De Laurentis, Everyday Italian)
Serves 4


1 ½ c. heavy cream
¼ c. fresh lemon juice
6 tbsp. unsalted butter
2 tsp. grated lemon zest
Pinch of ground nutmeg
¾ lb. fresh fettuccine
1 c. freshly grated parmesan
¼ lb. asparagus (as thin as you can find)


In a large saut√© pan, stir 1 cup of the cream and the lemon juice to blend. Add the butter and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, just until the butter melts, about 3 minutes.  Stir in the lemon zest, pepper, and nutmeg.  Remove from heat and let stand.

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the fettuccine and cook, stirring occasionally for about 3 minutes until it is just tender but still al dente.  Drain and add the pasta to the sauce.  Add the remaining ½ cup of cream, the parmesan, and salt and pepper.  Toss and let warm over low heat.  In the meantime, steam the asparagus for about 5 minutes until just tender.  Add the asparagus to the pasta and sauce and toss.   Season to taste.

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