So you want to make the best Alfredo but you keep running into problems? Let's get a quick history lesson and after, you can begin to avoid the mistakes that have been holding you back!
Fettuccine with butter and parmesan cheese (Alfredo sauce) was first mentioned in a 15th-century cookbook, Libro De Arte Coquinaria, written by Martino da Como, a northern Italian cook active in Rome during the time. The man who coined Alfredo goes by the name of Alfredo D Leilo, who, according to history made the dish as something new to appease his upset, pregnant wife. She loved it so much she asked him to put it on the menu at his restaurant.
Since then, this amazing sauce has transcended into the crowd favorite it is today. No longer will you have to venture to Olive Garden for your fix. After reading this, you will be able to execute this yummy homemade Alfredo sauce this wonder all on your own.
How Do I Start My Alfredo Sauce?
The key to the creamy Alfredo sauce is in the technique of the béchamel. A béchamel is one of the five Mother Sauces, those recipes from which come almost every sauce on the planet. Béchamel, in particular, is a "white" sauce that is typically the base of most cheese sauces, like Alfredo or a macaroni and cheese sauce.
To get you started, here's a recipe for a beginner béchamel - customize it from here!
If you want more of an authentic Alfredo sauce, skip the roux and the heavy cream. Simply melt butter and toss your pasta in the melted butter and cheese.
Why Does My Sauce Keep Breaking?
Your Alfredo sauce recipe is broken if the butter separates itself from the rest of the sauce. You can see this in how it pulls away from the white base and sits like olive oil near the surface. If your sauce keeps breaking, it's probably for these two reasons.
The first is that your heat was too high and the whole milk has scorched, causing it to separate. When making Alfredo, you do not want the sauce to boil. Ever. Keep it on a low heat while whisking to prevent scorching.
The second is that your heavy cream was cold when you added it to the pan. Adding a cold substance to something hot can cause a lot of problems, so be sure to heat your cream up on low to medium heat while you're making the roux.
Additionally, if you want to skip the step of dirtying a pan, you can place the cream (assuming you bought it in carton form) on the oven in between your burners. The heat from the stove often heats the cream just enough to avoid breaking, and it saves you one more dish! You can also add some hot pasta water as well.
What Cheese Should I Use?
The customary cheese for your best Alfredo sauce is Parmesan cheese. Don't get the cheap stuff in the green can that's not even refrigerated - you want to use Parmigiano-Reggiano. Fontina is also a smooth flavorful cheese that will take your Alfredo recipe to a new level. If you only have Romano cheese on hand this flavorful cheese will work beautifully in your homemade Alfredo sauce recipe.
If you're sticking to traditional Alfredo rules, the star of your dish is the sauce, going the extra mile to be sure that you're buying quality cheese will make all the difference in the final product.
How do I make Alfredo sauce my own?
A pinch of nutmeg adds a quality punch to your Alfredo. Remember less is more when adding some, and a true pinch is typically just what is needed. It adds a nuttiness to the sauce that brings out the nuttiness in the parmesan cheese.
Additionally, you can break traditional rules and add herbs and spices to your liking. Red pepper flakes are a secret twist to add some kick, while parsley and basil will bring a sweet freshness to your sauce. And if you love that garlic flavor, try adding in some garlic powder or fresh garlic cloves.
Sometimes you don't want to make Alfredo sauce from scratch, though, and we totally understand that feeling. That's where the link below comes in!
This post was originally published on October 24, 2016.