GOOD FOOD CHEAP: Quick and Easy Shrimp Fettuccine Alfredo
My GOOD FOOD CHEAP recipes have a couple of goals: First, they're about GOOD FOOD, both in taste and in quality. Second, they're about cooking on the CHEAP - in other words, how do you take food that you love, and make it as inexpensively as possible?
Shrimp Fettuccine Alfredo
As a kid living near the Gulf Coast of Mississippi, I grew up eating my share of seafood, my favorite of which was shrimp. We would often have it simply boiled with a little seasoning and served over ice, or occasionally in a delicious bowl of gumbo.
Over the past couple of years, I developed my version of a shrimp dish which I love, Shrimp Fettuccine Alfredo. It's easy and quick to make, and will please any shrimp-lover out there!
- 1 lb. raw shrimp, peeled
- 1/2 tsp. minced garlic
- 8 oz. fettuccine noodles, uncooked
- 3/4 C. grated or shredded Parmesan cheese
- 1/3 C. whipping or heavy cream
- 3 T. butter, melted
- 1/8 t. ground white pepper
- Dash of nutmeg
- Salt to taste
(makes approximately 4 servings)
Prepare your shrimp for cooking. If you're lazy - er, LUCKY - like me, you'll have frozen shrimp which are already peeled and they'll just need thawing. You can easily thaw them in a few minutes by placing them in a colander under cold running water.
Measure out your Parmesan cheese, cream, melted butter, and spices and have them ready to go - you'll need to work quickly once the noodles are cooked!
Put on a pot of water and heat it to a rolling boil.
Add the fettuccine noodles and cook according to package directions. Mine said 13 minutes for a tender texture. I like to break up the longer noodles before I drop them into the water - it makes for less of a fight when you're eating! Stir noodles occasionally to prevent sticking.
While the noodles are cooking, you can take care of the shrimp. Heat a little bit of olive oil in a skillet and toss in the shrimp. They'll start to turn pink in a matter of seconds.
Stir the shrimp very frequently to prevent sticking.
When your shrimp have turned pink, but still have some transparency to them, add your 1/2 tsp. of minced garlic. Keep stirring for another minute or two until all the shrimp are pink and opaque. Remove the shrimp from heat and cover for now.
Now back to the noodles - once they're done, drain them in a colander and put them back in the pan. Don't rinse them because they'll need to stay really hot for the next step.
Add the cheese, cream, melted butter and spices to the noodles and stir until creamy.
Stir in the cooked shrimp. Your Shrimp Fettuccine Alfredo is now ready to serve!
Most alfredo recipes will have you use grated Parmesan cheese. Once I grabbed a tub of shredded Parmesan by mistake and used it anyway. You'll get a thicker texture to your alfredo sauce, sometimes with little gobs of melted cheese. I actually like it better this way and I use shredded Parmesan all the time now.
My original recipe called for heavy cream. Again, I once grabbed a carton of whipping cream by mistake (are you getting the feeling that I need to pay closer attention while I'm shopping?). As it turns out, whipping cream works great for the alfredo sauce, and has less fat than heavy cream. Another fortuitous mistake that I'll probably hang on to.
When your shrimp are done cooking, you'll probably have some liquid left in the pan. Drain it off while you're waiting on the noodles to cook, or have a slotted spoon ready to transfer the shrimp to your noodle pan.
I use prepared garlic - it's always in my fridge and is a lot handier for me than keeping fresh garlic. Plus I don't get my hands all stinky handling it, which I like.
Making It Good
Most of the ingredients in the recipe will be minimally processed, so you'll be in good shape as far as that goes. If you can purchase any organic ingredients, that's even better, although a lot of times I find it price prohibitive.
Use sea salt instead of table salt. Table salt has usually been processed at high temperatures, while sea salt has little processing.
Sauté your shrimp in an iron skillet instead of a non-stick pan. There is a lot of controversy over the health risks of using non-stick cookware, and I would just rather avoid it. Plus, there is something I love about cooking in my well-seasoned iron skillets...maybe it's nostalgia.
Boil your noodles in distilled or at least filtered water.
COST PER SERVING
Making It Cheap(er)
While a shrimp dish is not going to be cheap, you can certainly make it cheaper than a restaurant meal, or a prepared frozen package of shrimp fettuccine alfredo. Here are a few things I do to keep my cost as low as possible.
I buy store brands whenever I can. You can probably easily pick up store brands of fettucine, cream, and butter.
Even with store brands, watch the cost of your butter. It can be as high as $4 per pound, but you can get it at discount stores or on sale for about $2 per pound. If you have to buy extra to get a good price, freeze some of it for later use.
The shrimp will be your priciest ingredient. Remember that the larger the shrimp, the higher the cost per pound. I found that medium shrimp (70-90 count per pound) are an ideal size. Sam's sells 2-pound bags which are peeled, cleaned and deveined and their price won't break the bank.
With some careful, penny-pinching shopping, my cost per serving came in at $2.22!