I love a good Alfredo sauce! Sometimes I am in the mood for the nouveaux version, which is cheesier than the traditional Alfredo which is just four, simple, ingredients.
The real “alfredo” was invented by a chef named Alfredo di Lelio, in Rome, in the early 1900’s. He created it to help his poor wife who had lost her appetite after giving birth. It is calorie laden for sure! It would have been the typical cheese on pasta except he added much more butter. Of course it was better!
Butter makes everything better.
He began serving this dish in his restaurant, much like a formal caesar salad would be prepared, table side, today.
The American version came about due to the differences in cheese and butter quality between Europe and America. Also, preparing it table side, had it’s hand as well. It assured the cheese was perfectly melted and served piping hot and fresh, before it had a chance to begin to congeal. The easiest way to solve that problem was to add cream: hence the American version of Alfredo.
Take it one step further, swap the cream for cream cheese, and you have the most modern twist of a basic sauce. Make the cream cheese “lite” and you can even shave off a few calories, earning room for a larger serving!
Try each of the versions and pick a favorite! When making the original, get the freshest, best cheese and butter you can find. For the Faux-Alfredo, you can go “light” by using fat free cream cheese but of course, it’s not nearly as good.
Original Fettuccine Alfredo
16 oz. fettuccine (fresh would be best)
Approx. 1 cup of pasta water
2 sticks of butter cut in small cubes
3 1/4 cups grated Parmesan Cheese
Cook pasta until just barely al dente, according to package directions.
Drain but reserve about two cups of the pasta water. (Don’t forget!)
Bring 3/4 cup of the pasta water and the butter, to a boil in a large skillet. Add pasta and sprinkle with cheese. Toss until a rich creamy sauce is formed, adding more pasta water as necessary.
16 ounces fettucini pasta
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp oil
8 oz Philadelphia Cream Cheese cubed (low fat if you prefer)
1 cup Milk
1/3 cup Parmesan Cheese
1/2 tsp salt
Quick grind of fresh pepper
Cook pasta until al dente, according to package directions, and drain reserving one cup of pasta water.
In a large saucepan, lightly saute garlic in olive oil until translucent but do not brown it.
Add milk, cream cheese and heat over a very low heat, stirring then whisking until well blended. Add 1/2 tablespoon of salt and a few quick grinds of fresh pepper.
Remove from heat and stir in Parmesan cheese. Add pasta water, if necessary, to thin consistency.
Toss in pasta and serve immediately hot with extra Parmesan cheese. Enjoy!