Thursday, July 9, 2020

Alfredo Sauce By Any Other Name

I've been blogging since before the term had become part of our collective vocabulary.  As far back as 1996, I was uploading science fiction book & movie reviews, via dialup, to my own site.  On 9/11/2001, I switched to writing political opinion pieces, adding food related pieces a few years later.  With such a body of work to my name, it's a challenge to not repeat myself. 

On July 9th, 2020, posted Olive Garden Launched An Amazing Alfredos Menu With More Sauce.  The Americanized Italian food chain is adding 30% more sauce to their current Alfredo dishes; Fettuccine Alfredo, Chicken Alfredo, Shrimp Alfredo, and Seafood (shrimp + scallops) Alfredo; and adding Steak Alfredo (a grilled 6 oz. top sir loin steak topped with garlic butter and served over Fettuccine Alfredo).

Having grown up in suburban America, I've come to be fond of a white savory cream sauce served over pasta.   It's the version of "Alfredo" which  Olive Garden, and most American eaters base their recipes on.  Yet, strictly speaking, it's not Italian Alfredo. 

I began writing this blog to explain the difference, before I realized I'd written an identical piece in 2015.  I was tempted to scrap this entry, but decided that some things bare repeating. 

What we think of as Alfredo Sauce would be more accurately described as a Parmesan Cream Sauce.  This style can be prepared separately then added to the Fettuccine noodle once they're cooked, which  is nice for restaurants.  It has the added advantage of being something that can be put into a bottle and sold. 

Americanized Alfredo Sauce:

|Subject: Fettuccine Alfredo at the Olive Garden in Fair Lakes, Fairfax County, Virginia | Date: 03/15/2020 | Photographer: Famartin| This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International |

1/4 pound (1/2 cup) sweet butter, melted,
1 cup heavy cream, warmed,
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese,
Salt to taste,
1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper

Mix all ingredients. Pour over 4 servings of warm pasta (I use fettuccine). Serve immediately.


However, cuisine aficionados, such as Lynne Rossetto Kasper maintain Pasta Alfredo is a way of preparing a pasta dressing, rather than a sauce, named for the Restaurant Alfredo in Rome.   It's assembled in the pan alongside the warm noodles so the pasta absorbs the flavors of the cheese, garlic, and pepper. 

Roman Style Fettuccine Alfredo:

|Subject: Fettuccine Alfredo made with Fettuccine egg noodles, butter and Parmigiano-Reggiano | Date: 09/05/2017 | Photographer: Meliciousm | This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International |

1 lb pasta,
1 stick (4 oz) butter,
1.5-2 cups Parmigiano Reggiano,
1 cup heavy cream,
1 clove of garlic,
salt & pepper to taste

Melt the butter in the pan with salt and pepper. Add the garlic to the butter when melting but don't brown it. Add the freshly-cooked hot pasta to the butter and mix it together over low heat.  Then add cream in to the pasta and let the cream and butter will be absorbed by the pasta as you continue to toss the pasta.  Finally sprinkle on grated Parmesan cheese and keep tossing until the cheese joins with the coating on the noodles.  Season once more with salt and pepper if necessary end serve.
Truthfully, I enjoy both versions.  I simply wish people would quit confusing one for the other. 

If Olive Garden delivers to my area, I hope to review their Steak Alfredo soon.  We'll see. 🤷‍♂️

Recipes Print as pages 2 & 3.

No comments:

Post a Comment