Ya know what’s something that makes me feel really old? The fact that the Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune back-to-back lineup is part of my evening TV watching. That hour from 7pm-8pm is my time to unwind for the evening, have a glass(es) of wine, eat some dinner and test my knowledge of trivia and puzzle solving skills. My husband can confirm that it frequently turns into me shouting answers at the TV in complete amazement that the players don’t know the answer. Admittedly, I think being contestant on Wheel of Fortune would totally be something I’d want to do if it wasn’t something that was broadcast on National television. I could picture it now, Pat Sajak would start the show with the little segment where he greets each player and asks a few “tell me about yourself” questions. I’d freeze. What’s my name? Where am I from? What do I like to do? If I could get over my intense stage fright and actually manage to open my mouth and speak words I’m sure it would be an embarrassment of stumbles, stutters, and totally wrong answers. So for now, I’m content to play from my couch and yell out answers as if I’m the one winning the cash.
If you like Alfredo sauce like I do, you really need to make it from scratch. Now I know I know, I know they sell the jarred version in the grocery store and trust me I’m not one to be all snooty about time-savers and cutting a few corners on a busy weeknight. But when it comes to getting the authentic fresh creamy taste of Alfredo sauce, the jarred version just isn’t going to cut it. Not convinced? I’ll share a story, I swear this is a true story.
In college we lived in an on-campus townhouse, myself and 7 other people. Once night while walking into the kitchen I swore I smelled that identifiable smell of throw up. My hypochondriac-self starts thinking “Great, someone has a stomach bug, now I’m going to get it. I’m going to get sick. I think I felt sick earlier.“. But as I walked into the kitchen it wasn’t a sickness at all. What was I smelling? Jarred Alfredo sauce cooking. I promise you I’m telling the truth. This was a well-known brand Alfredo sauce that smelled like pure vomit. Now, I’m not trying to seriously gross you out right before reading a recipe and looking at photos of my food, but I want you to understand why I say if you want good Alfredo sauce you’ve got to make it yourself. I won’t classify this as a “quick and easy”, but this definitely isn’t overly time consuming and involved. Yes you have to watch the sauce, make a roux, stir and add a little of this and that to get the right consistency but the end result is a savory, warm Alfredo sauce that tastes like it came out of an Italian kitchen. Here are a few tips:
1. There’s a very special ingredient you can’t skip. It’s the secret ingredient that takes Alfredo sauce from being a regular old cream sauce to warm and savory. Know what it is? Nutmeg! Yes, nutmeg. The same nutmeg we use in our pumpkin spice. Trust me. Do not skip this ingredient, it’s just not going to be the same.
2. Using some of the water from your pasta cooking pot is the best way to thin out a cream sauce that has gotten too thick. Sometimes this happens, when you simmer a cream sauce especially one started with a roux it’s going to get a little thick. You don’t want to add more cream to thin it out, that will make the taste too creamy and dull out the rest of the flavors. So, as you notice the sauce getting a tad too thick, add half-ladles at a time of the boiling pasta water into the sauce pan.
3. I’m really into using a zester to grate my garlic. Chopping it is ok too, but when you zest it you get more of a paste and I find it cooks more evenly and gives stronger garlic flavor throughout the dish.
4. Lastly, I hate cleanup. Hate it. So, as a cleanup time-saver instead of returning the drained pasta to the pasta pot and pouring the sauce into that pot, I take the drained pasta and pour it into the sauce pan. This means I only have one Alfredoy-saucy pan to clean after dinner…and that’s a very good thing.
I hope you enjoy this!