Sunday, August 31, 2008
Fettuccine Alfredo with Broccoli and Grilled Chicken
Since I've been cooking more, I've found that, on weekends and nights off, I would almost rather cook something nicer or more involved than go out to eat. Joe and I had also tried to invite people over for dinner on Saturday, but everyone had something else going on. So we settled for it being just the two of us, a big plate of pasta, and some Smoking Loon viognier.
I don't normally make things that are this high in calories, but we all deserve to splurge every once in a while. And if finishing the first week of divinity school isn't the perfect occasion, I don't know what is.
Joe did a wonderful job manning the grill. There is something about grilled chicken that is so good. I didn't even marinate it or anything, and it turned out moist and delicious. I steamed the broccoli in this little Pampered Chef contraption that I have that's basically a plastic sauce pan with a lid with holes in it that goes in the microwave. I will definitely be buying broccoli more often.
I had to read this recipe several times to make sure I was doing things correctly. I had never tried the pasta water in the bowls trick before. I added the grilled chicken and broccoli shortly after mixing in the pasta.
Fettuccine Alfredo (source: Cooking at Home with America's Test Kitchen via Joelen)
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
salt to taste
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
9 ounces fresh fettuccine
1 1/2 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated (about 3/4 cup)
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1. Bring 1 cup of the heavy cream and the butter to a simmer in a 3- to 4- quart saucepan over medium heat; reduce the heat to low and simmer gently until the mixture reduces to 2/3 cup, 12 to 15 minutes. Off the heat, stir in the remaining 1/2 cup cream, 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper.
2. While the cream reduces, bring 4 1/2 quarts water to a rolling boil. covered, in a large stockpot or Dutch oven. Using a ladle or heatproof measuring cup, scoop about 1/2 cup boiling water into each serving bowl; set the bowls aside to warm. Add 1 tablespoon salt and the pasta to the pot of boiling water; cook the pasta until just shy of al dente. Reserve 1/4 cup pasta cooking water, then drain the pasta.
3. Meanwhile, return the cream mixture to a simmer over medium-high heat; reduce the heat to low and add the pasta, Parmesan, and nutmeg to the cream mixture. Cook over low heat, tossing the pasta with tongs to combine, until the cheese is melted, the sauce coats the pasta, and the pasta is just al dente, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the reserved pasta cooking water; the sauce may look rather thin but will gradually thicken as the pasta is served and eaten. Working quickly, empty the serving bowls of the water; divide the pasta among the bowls, tossing the pasta to coat well with the sauce. Serve immediately.