Fettucini Alfredo is one of those things that are always on restaurant menu’s but are hardly ever done well. The Alfredo we’re used to is thick and gloopy and the taste of flour is all too present. There’s also very rarely any mushroom or ham taste and it’s generally over seasoned. Doesn’t exactly sound appetising now does it?
So when one of my readers suggested I share a decent recipe for Fettucini Alfredo, I was actually a bit nervous. I mean after all, it’s the simpler things in life that are the hardest to do well right? Especially when it comes to food.
I researched quite a few recipes but all of them were boring and uninspired. The first thing I was looking for was garlic. For me, garlic just goes so well with creamy pasta sauces (and everything else as you might’ve noticed) so it boggles my mind that some people don’t add it. And for me, lemon juice is an obvious addition as well. I’m not talking about a cup full of the stuff but a little spritz or two can only make it better. I mean, there are few things in life as delicious as mushrooms with garlic and a squeeze of lemon. And so, my recipe started taking shape.
I also knew that I didn’t want to add any flour or thickeners to my sauce but if you want to, you could mix 2 tablespoons of mushroom soup powder with ½ cup of milk and add that to the cream and mushrooms to thicken the sauce.
I used an assortment of mushrooms I found at Woolworths to really intensify the flavour but if you only want to use one, I suggest you use Portobello mushrooms. They are incredibly meaty and flavourful. Also, you could add some re-hydrated Porcini mushrooms as well to really add some oomph. I used a really good quality smoked ham from my local supermarket but some sautéed bacon would also be good. You should really play around with the flavours and see what works for you. It’s not exactly the most waist friendly dish in the world but if you wanted to make it lower in fat you could substitute either reduced fat cream or low fat evaporated milk for the cream…heck, even milk will do. It of course won’t have that same moreish-ness that you want but it will still do. As for the meat, ham is originally used but for this I used Kassler Pork Chops cut into cubes which added a really lovely smokiness to the finished dish. And you can also use any pasta you want, I just love Fettucini with this but Linguini would also go down really well. And of course, you have to serve it with a good grating of Pecorino or Parmesan and some fresh parsley.
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
250-300g assorted mushrooms
150-200g good quality ham, sliced into strips or Kassler Chops cut into cubes
Squeeze of lemon juice (to taste)
½ tsp paprika
pinch of nutmeg
salt & pepper to taste
500g cooked fettucini
grated Parmesan/Pecorino to serve
fresh Parsley to serve
- To make the sauce, fry the onion and garlic in a bit of butter or olive oil until soft and translucent. Add the mushrooms and fry for 2 minutes until they start to brown. Add the cream and allow to cook for 7-10 minutes until the mushrooms are cooked and the cream has thickened slightly.
- Add the ham, lemon juice and spices and season to taste. Serve the sauce over the cooked pasta and add a good grating of Parmesan and a few Parsley leaves.