Sunday, June 13, 2010

Hey, Alfredo it's Wednesday, Prince spaghetti Day!!!!!

Why is it that the only time we have a rich alfredo sauce, is when we eat out? Tell Olive Garden your staying in tonight.
What is alfredo and more importantly how can we make it? Alfredo sauce has had it's toes in Italian cuisine for over 100 years. The story is that this dish was invented by Alfredo di Lelio as a variation of Fettuccine al burro, or fettuccine with butter. The butter was added both before and after the fettuccine was put into the bowl, it was known as doppio burro(or double butter). Alfredo di Lelio made his dish triplo burro (triple butter) which was the double the butter before the pasta went in and butter after.
In 1927, newlyweds Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford put Alfredo Sauce on the map. Upon returning to Hollywood, news spread of this wonderful meal. Their picture of eating the dish is proudly displayed to this day. After Alfredo di Lelio's retirement in 1938, the new owners the Mozzetti Family retained the integrity and name of Alfredo.
Alfredo di Lelio had such an impact on Italian cuisine that businessmen tracked him down even in his retirement, to offer building him a new restaurant. He acted as the face of the new restaurant, attracting all of his old customers, their photos adorning the walls of the "new" restaurant, 30 Piazza Augusto Imperatore, just a few blocks from where it all began.
Fettuccine Alfredo has become the staple of Italian-American cuisine. There are many modifications of the original recipe and America tends to use less butter but added cream. The cheese in my opinion really makes it, I use Parmigiano-Reggiano but you can use Romano or Asiago which are similar dry Italian cheeses.
What I do is usually saute a finely dice onion and garlic in about 1 1/2 ozs of butter, then I add 1 1/2 ozs of flour and mix well over low heat. Add a combination of 1 cup heavy cream and 1 cup chicken stock and cook until thickened. When it is thick, turn off the heat and add about 1/4 to 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese. At the very end, I love to add what chef's call a "final liaison" this, simply put is just one egg yolk mixed with 2 tablespoons heavy cream and then mixed into your finished sauce. This makes your sauce richer, it's a no-brainer. For my friend Ann-Marie at this point you can make the Anglo/Franco version of Carbonara, the fresh peas are added for color and you can either use bacon(which I did at the Putney Inn) or pancetta. Just a quick little diddy about Carbonara, it is said that it was created as a tribute to the Carbonari(charcoalmen), the secret society responsible in the unification of Italy. Why charcoal you say? The black pepper prominent in the white sauce resembles charcoal.

There is no sight on Earth more appealing than the sight of a woman making dinner for someone she loves.~Thomas Wolfe


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