Thursday, February 12, 2015

Scrumptious, Amazingly Simple Alfredo Sauce

Have you been trying to think of a nice dinner for Valentine's Day, but the thought of going out is ridiculous - and who wants to cook all day?  

I mean seriously!  I was watching Rachel Ray today and she was making an upscaled version of Eggs Benedict.  She had a pan going with leeks and garlic to which spinach was added.  She had a pan for homemade Bechamel sauce, another for poaching eggs, and she had 4 different containers to bread and fry the eggplant for the dish.  I love you, Rachel Ray, but if that's what it takes to be romantic - no thanks!
Here's an idea that requires only a little cooking, but it's so yummy you'll be glad you stayed in.  The secret:  fresh from scratch Alfredo sauce that only takes about 6 minutes to make.

Alfredo sauce from a jar is just plain blechy to me.  For a long time I tried to make Alfredo sauce, but it never turned out.  It was always globby or rubbery.  This recipe is the result of my many trials, and if you follow it precisely, you should end up with a delicious, smooth, creamy Alfredo sauce.

1 Stick of Butter
1 Cup Heavy Cream
2 Cups finely shredded Parmesan from a wedge 
Pinch of Garlic Powder

Finely shred a wedge of Parmesan cheese until you have two cups.  This is one of the very important steps, and the only slightly labor intensive part of this entire meal.  If you want good results the Parmesan must be freshly shredded.  You do not want any of the shreds from the store.  You can shred it earlier in the day, just be sure to keep it well sealed so it doesn't dry out.

Melt a stick of butter (not margarine) in a sauce pan on med/low.  You only want the butter melted, but not browned at all.

Add a cup of heavy cream (yes, heavy - you want this to be yummy, right?).  Stir frequently with a whisk until the cream and butter starts to bubble along the edges.  The idea is to have a hot liquid, but not boiling.  By the way, the black whisk I'm using is Pampered Chef, but from a long time ago.  I don't know where to get another like it, but it is such a great tool.

Now for the second really important step:  Once the cream/butter is bubbling on the edges, take it off the heat and start whisking in the shredded Parmesan.  Keep whisking until all the of the Parmesan has melted completely.  It is important to remove it from the heat, because that is what keeps it from getting overcooked and rubbery.  Add the garlic powder, and that's it!  Serve immediately.

For Valentine's Day, I purchase precooked chicken, shrimp, salmon, etc.  I boil some pasta ahead of time, rinse in cold water, drain well, and store in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.  When it is time for dinner, I put meat on each plate and cover it with the pasta.  I think doing it this way helps the meat not dry out as much in the microwave.  When the meat and pasta are warmed, I rearrange the meat to the top and cover everything with the freshly made Alfredo sauce.  Serve with a salad, and you have a lovely, romantic meal. 

Lavender Tub Tip:  If you have leftover sauce, reheat it in a pan over low heat.  If you microwave or heat it too high, the butter will separate out of it.  Likewise, if your sauce gets too cold while you're heating your Valentine meal, just gently rewarm it, stirring constantly.  You don't want the Parmesan to overcook.

Lavender Tub Tip:  You can also have several things ready ahead of time like chicken fingers, pieces of bread, potato wedges, cooked ziti pasta.....anything that would be fun to dip - and just make this a finger food meal.  Once the Alfredo is ready, dinner is served!

Please let me know how yours turns out, if you try this. 

And do come back tomorrow!  
I'll be sharing the dessert for this meal.
Click here to view that dessert.

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I LOVE your ideas and comments. Thanks for taking the time :)