Sunday, 25 April 2010
Fettuccine Alfredo with Mushrooms - the true story revealed
Serves 4 | Easy
My Italian friends will not be very happy with this post!
Why? Well because Fettuccine Alfredo is not Italian cuisine! Yes I know we all know it and categorise it as such, but it really isn't! As The Italian Master Chefs have informed me: Fettuccine is not an authentic Italian cuisine dish, however with the years became one of the most popular "Italian" dishes in the world. This concoction was devised by an Italian American man, Alfredo, for his wife who was pregnant and nauseous all the time, and who could not keep any food down for a while. In his many attempts to cook food for her that she will enjoy, the only one that she actually ate and enjoyed was this, which he referred to as 'Fettuccine Alfredo'! Obviously, not just his wife enjoyed this concept of cream sauce, cheese, mushrooms, herbs and pasta... well, it's safe to say the majority of the world did! However, because it is not an authentic classic Italian dish, and rather a creative concept on Alfredo's behalf, most Italians don't know it, and authentic restaurants don't serve it!
With that said, the dish still is a well loved one and as such I want to share with you the recipe and the story because I know many of you out there love this one, and also because it is only fair to set the story right About Don Alfredo and his unique Fettuccine pasta!
I remember the first time I had Fettuccine Alfredo. To my very young palate it tasted utterly creamy with hints of sweetness that was much appreciated at that age. The whole experience was easy, effortless, and comfortable. That made it for me! I liked it. And I guess this is one of the main reasons why it appeals to many young palettes and popular with kids. Growing up, I have tried many variations of this 'Fettuccine Alfredo' concept. Some added nutmeg, some added basil, some used mushrooms, some went without. Every time I tried one, I always found something I liked. I have decided that this is one dish, very open for additions, and can make a good base to many other pasta dishes.
Fettuccine Alfredo, is a rich dish, but a very delicious one nonetheless. It can be had on its own, or served as a side to meat or poultry dishes. It can even be served as part of an appetiser, like the Trio of Pasta Appetiser, where you serve small portions of 3 kinds of pasta to start a meal (also a non traditional or authentic way to serve an Italian meal but a very popular one among the Arab diners in Italian restaurants). I must say it is a genius way to sample different pastas instead of committing to one!
The Classic Fettuccine Alfredo is done the same as in this recipe, except without the Mushrooms.
For this recipe I used 2 types of Mushrooms available in my area- the white button mushrooms and the brown mushrooms - but you are not limited to these types, you can choose any type of Mushroom that you fancy or that is available near you. You can even take the dish to another level by adding shavings of black truffles on top. Or you can simply drizzle some white truffle oil to finish. The flavours of Fettuccine Alfredo are very open for additions, as I mentioned. This is a good place to experiment with different flavours and textures. You can even use it as a vehicle to create a whole new recipe like Portabella Mushroom and Pecans Pasta in White Sauce (now my Italian friends are really going to kill me!!), or Fettuccine Alfredo with Chicken and sage... Let your imagination be your guide!
Here is how this Fettucine Alfredo with Mushrooms is made...
250g dried Fettuccine (can also use spinach Fettuccine)
1 tbsp butter (can substitute with the same amount Extra virgin olive oil)
1 medium brown onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
250g button mushrooms, peeled & halved
250g Swiss brown mushrooms, peeled & quartered
3/4 cup half-and-half, or light cream
1/2 cup chicken broth | stock
2 tbsp fresh oregano, chopped
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
Freshly cracked black pepper to taste
Cook Pasta in a large pot of boiling water until Al Dente (as explained in the earlier post: Understanding Pasta, All There is To Know).
Heat butter or olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion and garlic and sautee until tender but not browned. Add the mushrooms and cook stirring until the mushrooms are browned and softened. Stir in the Broth and simmer uncovered until reduced by half. Stir in the cream and 1/2 the amount of Oregano bringing to a boil. Simmer uncovered on low heat for 3 minutes.
Meanwhile, drain the pasta. Add the drained pasta to the cream sauce and toss to coat. Add the parmesan cheese and stir to mix. Transfer the fettuccine into a serving dish and sprinkle with cracked black pepper and the rest of the chopped Oregano.
Serve warm as a starter or next to a grilled meat, fish, poultry option.
Let's chat - How cool is a guy who cooks? And how amazing is the one who actually cooks until you find your favourite version of any dish!!! You can count on the Italians to be romantic :) Does your other half cook? what do you cook for each other? Come on give us ideas to surprise our partners :))
Did you know that before I ever decided to start cooking it was my husband who would have cooked for us? It's true, and he is still an inspiration to me on all things food. He loves this pasta dish and every time he cooks for us or says he is craving something, it is always a pasta dish of some sort. He also loves steaks of course but I am lucky because he always loves new interesting foods and flavours. So I get to do most the experimentation with him and I can always count on his feedback because he really knows his food and flavours. Do you experiment on special occasions or do you go safe and leave experimentations for other less important dates?