I had no idea what to make for dinner last night. The kids were home for an extended weekend and had been gobbling up most of the food I purchased at the grocery store before their break. My temptation was to order out and my kids were more than willing to let that happen, but I just didn’t feel like any of the options available for delivery. So I started poking around in my pantry and fridge and found a package of Barilla fettuccine (my favorite brand!). Me to my kids, “How about pasta?” My kids response, ” Grumble, complain, grumble.” Me again, “How about a creamy, cheesy sauce on the pasta?” My kids, “Yum, okay!”
So I started googling Fettuccine Alfredo recipes and found one from Giada that looked really interesting because she adds lemon juice and zest to the creamy, cheesy sauce. To give it even more flavor and to break up the richness of the sauce, I added peas and a gremolata topping (a traditional Italian topping that usually contains garlic, parsley and lemon zest). This was so, so good! Just the right amount of creamy and cheesy and the fresh zest and parsley really added to this dish. My kids were completely quiet and my son had two helpings…so did I!
By the way, if you ever wondered where the dish Fettuccine Alfredo came from, and of course I did, the original dish was first mentioned in the 15th century and consisted of pasta with butter and Parmesan cheese. Around 1915, a man named Alfredo put it on his menu and called it Fettuccine Alfredo. Thanks Alfredo!
Adapted from Giada, Everyday Italian
1 package fettuccine, cooked al dente
1 and 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (1 lemon should do it)
6 tbs unsalted butter
zest from 1 lemon
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
pinch fresh grated nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup peas
top with gremolata
Cook the pasta according to package directions for al dente. Combine 1 cup of the cream, the lemon juice and the butter in a saucepan over medium high heat and stir to melt the butter about 3 minutes. Turn heat to low, add the pasta, the remaining cream, lemon zest, Parmesan cheese, nutmeg, peas (optional) and salt and pepper to taste. Toss to coat and warm through. Serve in a bowl topped with the gremolata.
For the gremolata:
1 clove garlic minced
3 tbs fresh chopped parsley
2 tbs grated Parmesan cheese
2 tbs pine nuts, toasted and chopped (see The Basics for toasting nuts)
1 tsp lemon zest
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Toss and sprinkle over dish before serving. Use over pasta, grilled meats, fish.