fettuccine pepperedo

Not surprisingly our home pasta machines are not overworked, enjoying a leisurely lifestyle packed in the closet under the stairs. The one we never get opened in back under the landing to have more space to organize its contents. So when the rare request for homemade pasta product arrives to force us into action, we must choose wisely to take full advantage of the opportunity. Fettuccine give the biggest payoff in showcasing the freshness of the pasta, and although it's well known as a killer sauce, alfredo is the one that drives home the point, like the wooden stake in the vampire's heart. So the question is: to compromise or not, to compromise?

Well if we're going to splurge, let's check with Marcella. First ingredient: 1 cup heavy whipping cream. Okay, we've got one of those in the fridge. We thought. Except that it was only half and half. However, we still had some 200 ml room temperature precious personally imported cartons of Italian cooking cream (panna per cucinare), just under a cup according to our glass metric-US measuring cup. So we substituted the heavy cream with that plus half a cup of half and half (is that equivalent to a quarter of cup of full fat content?). Since the 200ml seemed more like a half a cup at the time, and we only measured it a few days later, when we discovered that the expiration date was seven months earlier. [Actually the heavy cream was just hiding in the fridge clutter, only to be discovered behind the yogurt days later.] We survived the Italian cream, which seemed perfectly innocent.

The next modification was induced by the inertia of our original sauce choice—vodka sauce—which is a creamy smooth pink tomato sauce more appropriate for penne than fettuccine and lots more work. So how to add a pink touch to make the alfredo sauce more interesting? Maybe that jar of sweet red pepper sauce in the fridge? Or maybe pureed Carlino's roasted red peppers with lots of garlic instead, easily done in the hand blender attachment?

We used our new rounded deep 4qt professional Calphalon nonstick chef's pan that we got as a free bonus after buying some on-sale Calphalon products for Christmas gifts at bloomies. What a pot! For years we've been lusting after high end kitchen cookware, but only buying it for others as gifts. Finally we broke down and went for it, and were instantly convinced by its first kitchen application that expense doesn't necessarily mean hype. A worthwhile investment if you enjoy being in the kitchen.

ingredients

what she said what we did
sauce
2 T choicest quality butter 2 T superfat French sweet butter
1 c heavy whipping cream 200 ml panna per cucinare (about 1 c)
1/2 c half and half
1/3 c roasted red peppers and extra garlic, pureed
fettuccine
1 1/4 lb homemade fettuccine 4 egg, 4 c flour pasta load, fettuccine disk
finishing touch
2/3 c freshly grated parmigiano 2/3 c freshly grated parmigiano
salt salt
black pepper, freshly milled black pepper, freshly ground
1/8 t grated whole nutmeg powdered nutmeg dusting

instructions

Check Marcella's book for her approach ("cream and butter sauce = "al'Alfredo"), easily inferred from ours:

  1. Pure the roasted red peppers with garlic in the hand blender with the half and half.
  2. Put the Italian/heavy cream and butter in a large pot that will hold the pasta for tossing later and heat on medium heat, cooking briefly for a minute so that the cream and butter thicken. Stir in the red pepper pure and heat slightly. Turn off the heat.
  3. Meanwhile cook the pasta until just before reaching the al dente stage. Remember fresh fettuccine cook very quickly, and supposedly continue cooking a bit even after leaving the burner.
  4. Drain the pasta and dump in the pot with the cream sauce on minimal low heat, and toss it around to coat all the noodles.
  5. Stir in the parmigiano, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Check the salt. Add some if necessary.
  6. Serve immediately, with additional parmigiano and black pepper grated over the serving.

notes

  1. Since panna per cucinare is a rare commodity, even in our kitchen where expiration dates can present a dilemma when noticed, you can use heavy cream instead, replacing even the half and half for a total of one cup cream if you dare.
fetpprdo.htm: 8-aug-2001 [what, ME cook? 1984 dr bob enterprises]