When you get married, what happens to the anniversary you celebrated when you were dating? Early in our relationship, Derek and I established December 1 as our anniversary date. I have since realized that the date of our first “official” date was actually December 5. Anyway, while we’ve been married for a whopping nine months, we recently (as in 3 months ago– this recipe has been waiting to be posted!) celebrated our nine-year dating anniversary. I know, it’s pretty ridiculous. We’ve been together since we were nineteen!
So when I asked D what he wanted for dinner on our date-iversary, I expected the usual “I don’t know/care” response. Instead, he said he could go for some fettuccine alfredo. With garlic bread. Le sigh. The boy loves his carbs. He also [thoughtfully?] said that he didn’t mind if I used a jarred alfredo sauce. I, of course, was horrified at the thought, and spent a decent part of my afternoon searching for a suitable recipe to make.
I came across this article from Saveur about the origins of fettuccine alfredo. Did you know the original version that Alfredo made his pregnant wife did not have any cream in it? It was only three ingredients: pasta, parmesan cheese, and butter. Add a little starchy pasta cooking water and toss until a creamy sauce forms. Consider my mind officially blown.
So I set out to recreate this dish. I also found another recipe, that did indeed include cream and figured I’d make both recipes and see which I preferred. Once I started tossing the pasta sans cream, it didn’t look right. So in a rush to finish dinner already, I just dumped it into the batch of pasta with cream, added some more cream and cheese, and the resulting dish was rich, creamy, and delicious. Truly an anniversary meal– because really, you shouldn’t eat this but once a year!
I also made some garlic bread and sautéed some shrimp to go with this carb-fest. I’ve included those recipes below as well. Leave out the shrimp for a Meatless Monday meal. Bon appétit!
1 lb fettuccine noodles
1 stick (8 tablespoons) of unsalted butter
1 cup heavy cream
1 1/2-2 cups grated parmesan cheese
Bring a large pot of salted (1 tablespoon) water to a boil and cook the fettuccine about a minute shy of the package instructions so that it is al dente. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large sauté pan set over low heat. Add the cream to the butter as it melts. Stir often to combine the two, do not turn off the heat, but keep the heat at its lowest setting while the pasta cooks. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water before draining the pasta and dump the pasta into the pan containing the butter and cream. Turn on the heat under the sauté pan to medium and swirl the pasta and butter together to combine. Add 1/4 cup of the pasta water and 1 cup of the cheese, then swirl and toss the pasta until it has incorporated into the sauce. If needed, add more of the pasta cooking water to thin out and smooth the sauce. Add the rest of the cheese and toss until everything is fully coated in the creamy sauce. Serve immediately.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
1/4-1/2 cup white wine or stock
Heat the olive oil over medium-low heat in a large pan. Season the shrimp with salt, pepper and Old Bay and add to the pan to cook in a single layer. Once one side is cooked (3-4 minutes), flip the shrimp so the other side can cook about 1 minute. Raise the heat to medium or medium high and add the wine or stock to deglaze the pan, making sure to scrape up any bits that may have stuck on the pan. Cook down the wine for about 2 minutes. Divide the shrimp evenly over the pasta before serving.
Feel free to add some minced garlic as well while cooking the shrimp. I normally would have, except that I made garlic bread instead with all the garlic I had on hand…
1 loaf of french bread
1 stick of unsalted butter, softened
1 large handful of parsley, finely chopped
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut the loaf of bread lengthwise. Mix the remaining ingredients together in a small bowl. Spread the butter mixture evenly over each half of bread. Place the top of the bread back on the bottom so the buttered sides are touching. Wrap the entire loaf with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. To serve, cut into 2-3 inch thick slices.