Hands up who knows that real alfredo sauce has no cream in it.
Bet a lot of you just raised your hands.
So if most of us know this, then why do we continue to add cream to our alfredo sauce?
Personally, I make it with cream because that’s how my sister taught me. It’s also, believe it or not, the easier and less laborious way to make one of the most scrumptious and decadent of pasta sauces.
The story goes that in the early 1900s, Alfredo di Lelio of Rome invented the real fettuccini alfredo to help his wife get her appetite back after giving birth to their son. The original pasta sauce only calls for extravagant amounts of butter and parmesan, which were added to freshly cooked pasta, and tableside, Alfredo himself would meticulously twirl the sauce and pasta together using a golden fork and spoon until a weak emulsion was created. The theatrics were aided by a violinist and a tenor, which all culminated in Alfredo receiving the nickname Il Maestro.
Apparently, the cream was added by American chefs in the 1950s, most likely as a substitute for the inferior ingredients that were available at the time.
No matter the reason, there is cream in my alfredo. Purists should either live with it or turn away now.
Even though I’m a little late to the party this week, I’m bring a colourful bowl of fettuccini alfredo topped with garlic prawns and red capsicums to the Novice Gardener’s Fiesta Friday #54 to help celebrate Fettuccini Alfredo Day.
Fettuccini Alfredo with Garlic Prawns and Capsicum
- 30g unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 2 large garlic cloves (minced)
- 2 red capsicums (deseeded and thinly sliced)
- 300g prawns (peeled and deveined)
- Half a lemon (juiced)
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley (roughly chopped)
- 500g fettuccine
- 100g unsalted butter
- 300ml heavy cream
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 240g parmesan (freshly and finely grated)*
- Melt the butter and oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the strips of capsicum and sauté for 4 minutes. Then add the prawns, and stirring frequently, cook until they are pink, 4 to 6 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and add the lemon juice and parsley and stir to combine. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, cook the fettuccini as directed.
- In a saucepan, heat the butter and the cream until the butter has melted over medium-low heat. Stir to combine. Add ¾ of the parmesan and stir until melted. Season with pepper and keep warm.
- Drain the pasta and return it to the pot. Pour in a quarter of the alfredo sauce and stir to coat the fettuccini. Continue adding and stirring until all the pasta is thickly coated, but not soupy.
- Divide the pasta into bowls, top with the prawns and capsicum mixture, and serve immediately.