Fettuccine, Fast and Furiously Good!
It's kind of a given that the Macaroni Grill isn't the most authentic Italian-food restaurant, but most would agree it's still tasty food. When my family goes there, I become extremely duplicitous and I will ashamedly admit to you now what I do. My daughter, who has yet to realize that God has created any other food besides macaroni and cheese, will voice her interest in ordering this dish... the way a lion will voice it's interest in a baby zebra.
Now, I know, being at the Macaroni Grill, also known as "the place carb-aholics go to die" that there will be a few temptations. Bread being the first. I have been able to take the high road and order foods that wont instantly put me to sleep, but I have had one favorite since I was a child. Fettuccine Alfredo. Now, being in my 40's I can't run around ordering this dish willy-nilly, but my over-active, abs-of-steel 13 year old daughter can! So I say something to her like, "You get macaroni all the time, wouldn't you rather get something different for a change? Fettuccine is just like macaroni, only it tastes better and it's more grown up too!" Lucky for me, she has so far always been willing to order it, allowing me a few bites when she can't finish. Score!
Many people don't know how fast and easy this dish can be. It's very forgiving and easy to play with. Here is my recipe and it's kind of amazing, if I do say so myself, but you can lower the fat, add or take away any spice you want as long as you're not heavy handed. Just keep it Italian!
- 1 pkg. Fettuccine noodles
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) Salted butter
- 1/2 pint Any kind of cream, Creme Fraiche, 1/2 &1/2 (fat free if preferred), heavy cream.
- 6 oz. Parmesan cheese, fresh grated
- 1 C. Romano or Parmesan, sprinkle cheese, from the tall can
- Celery salt, salt, pepper, To taste.
- Boil one pkg fettuccine noodles, drain and rinse, leave in colander. Use same pot for the sauce. Lower temp. to med heat. Drop in one stick of salted butter, let melt. To be extra decadent, you can use 8 oz. of creme fraiche, stir until dissolved OR use 1/2 pint of any kind of heavy cream, OR whipping cream. To reduce some of the calories, I use fat-free half and half 'cause with butter and cheese, it's still very rich. I've made both and the latter is just as good. (Save other half of pint for your coffee.) Let milk heat up so cheese will melt. Whisk. Keep whisking, drop in 6 oz cup of fresh grated Parmesan cheese, (like Digiorno shredded) stir until melted. *Optional: Add white cooking wine, maybe 1/2 cup. You definitely want the sauce to be thick, but not like gravy.
- Add 1 cup of sprinkle Romano or Parmesan cheese. I prefer the Parmesan. You can work with the sprinkle cheese and the cooking wine or even a little milk/cream to get the sauce to the consistency you want. (Remember, too watery is not good, but the sauce continues to thicken so air on the side of thinner rather than too thick.) I like to add a sprinkle of celery seed, and I'm very heavy handed on the pepper. The best secret I can give you for making this a successful dish is to let it sit in the pot for about 20 min. before serving on a very low temp. It cooks off the liquid and it just kind of "bakes" the whole dish together. Pour the noodles back in the pot, stir and serve.