I recently discovered that the authentic method for making fettuccine alfredo comes from the use of four main ingredients: butter, cream, Parmesan cheese and pasta water. You simply add some of the leftover pasta water to a heated butter/cream mixture, let it cook down and thicken, and finish with some fresh Parmesan cheese. Seriously simple.
I’m not sure why it had never occurred to me that I should use the pasta water before. Not only is it convenient, it’s brilliant to boot. Adding the starchy liquid to your butter and cream will help the sauce to naturally thicken. Throw in a few other choice flavors and you’ve just made a fab dish that will rivel any processed box or bag mix you throw at it. It just goes to show that homemade meals don’t have to be complicated and time consuming.
I was excited to try this newly acquired knowledge out on my
resident guinea pigs family so I got to cooking. Of course, I couldn’t just leave it at plain ol’ alfredo, so I “Mexicanized” it up for a fun spin on a dinnertime classic.
Start out by boiling up about 8 ounces of noodles. You’ll want to salt your pasta water ahead of time. Just toss in a couple good pinches and your noodles will be all the happier. Trust me on this one.
While the noodles are boiling, cook up the Mexi end of things. Start out with a bit of onion and garlic.
While that’s cooking along, cube up some chicken and sprinkle it with a barrage of spices.
Add the chicken into the pan with the onions and garlic. It’s starting to look mighty fine if I do say so myself.
Finish off the Mexi mixture with a can of diced green chilies.
Set the chicken mixture to the side and grab up a new pan for the alfredo sauce. To said pan, add a little butter and cream. Let it cook down on medium heat for about five minutes and then add in a bit of the pasta water. Cook down again and repeat the process. Your sauce should start to get a nice creamy texture to it. Here’s mine with the cheese going in. And yes, I already salted and peppered it. I just couldn’t stop myself.
With the prep steps completed, all that’s left is to combine everything back together again. First up, toss the noodles into the fettuccine sauce. When that’s finished you’ll dump in the chicken mixture. Finish the whole thing off with the addition of a couple tablespoons of fresh pico de gallo. Just because.
And just like that, it’s time to eat. Grab up a plate and a fork and get ready for a delightful dinner time treat.
What’s your favorite way to make alfredo sauce? I can certainly tell you what mine is.
Before I sign off, I want to mention that Cooking Light is on the hunt for the 2012 Trailblazing Chef People’s Choice Award for Best Neighborhood Restaurant Chef. Do you have a favorite local hangout that you couldn’t live without? How about the one meal time dish that keeps you coming back again and again? If you know a local restaurant or chef that consistently makes your palate sing; who’s absence would surely leave a culinary hole in the community, nominate them now. They could find themselves featured in the November issue of Cooking Light and on cookinglight.com. Entries are being accepted through May 31st so be sure to stop by and drop a vote for your favorite today!
Yield: 5 Adult Sized Portions
Total Time: 45 min
8 Oz. Dry Pasta
1 tsp Olive Oil
1/2 Onion, Chopped
2 Cloves Garlic, Minced
2 Chicken Breasts, Cubed
1 tsp Cumin
1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Pepper
1 4 Oz. Can Diced Green Chiles
3 Tbsp Butter
1/2 Cup Cream
2-3 Tbsp Pasta Water
1/4 Cup Parmesan Cheese
1/2 Cup Pico de Gallo
Salt and Pepper to Taste
Fill a large pot with water and salt generously. Bring to a boil and cook noodles to desired softness.When done, reserve about 1/4 cup of the remaining pasta water.
In a large saucepan, heat up the oil and then add in the onion and garlic. Cook for 2-3 minutes.
Toss cubed chicken with cumin, salt and pepper and drop into the saucepan.
When the chicken is fully cooked, mix in the green chiles and set to the side.
To a separate sauce pan, add in the butter and cream on medium heat. Let reduce for about 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add in a tablespoon of the reserved pasta water and continue to cook and reduce for another 2-3 minutes.
Repeat the process until you have the desired amount/consistency of sauce.
Add in the Parmesan cheese. Salt and Pepper to taste.
Toss the finished noodles in the alfredo sauce. When combined repeat with the chicken mixture.
Finish off the pasta with 1/2 cup of fresh pico de gallo.
Serve with a dollop of guacamole and a couple hunks of fresh tomato on top.
Amount Per Serving
Calories 464.4, Total Fat 20.9 g, Saturated Fat 11.9 g, Polyunsaturated Fat 1.2 g, Monounsaturated Fat 6.3 g, Cholesterol 127.7 mg, Sodium 316.9 mg, Potassium 313.2 mg, Total Carbohydrate 37.1 g, Dietary Fiber 1.1 g, Sugars 0.0 g, Protein 31.6 g
Looks delicious! I have always made my alfredo with flour/butter/milk/parm/garlic/pinch of nutmeg. I have always thought that this was the traditional way (actually, I thought cream should replace milk but I try to keep things semi-low fat)! Can’t wait to try this dish. Thanks Julie!
Looks fab! And as a recent discoverer of using pasta water in the sauce, I can totally echo that it’s a great technique. I’m surprised it took me so long to learn this too!
Pasta water. . .I never even thought of that! This whole meal just sounds fantastic, and I love the bowl you’re using. I need to get me some nice bowls like that with the handles. Love them!
-Krystal @ recipesofacheapskate.blogspot.com
I also often add my pasta water to my sauces. This is one good tempting recipe; all the ingredients are right up my alley.
Julie you know we are going to love this at home. I just posted a few days ago our two favorites, guacamole and pico de gallo. My husband is so going to love this! Thanks for the fabulous recipe!
The Mom Chef ~ Taking on Magazines One Recipe at a Time says
I see my next comfort food dish right here. It looks fantastic.
What a beautiful pasta dish! So original :-). Happy Mother’s Day, Julie 🙂
p.s. hope to see you back on RecipeNewZ
I discovered Alfredo sauce only recently since we don’t have this specific sauce here in Greece. It is indeed very simple and I love the creaminess it gives to the pasta. Your Mexicanized version gives an additional kick to the dish. I love Mexican so I am sure I am going to love this as well! Happy Mother’s Day Julie!
Jenn @ Our House Story says
This looks amazing!!!!!!!!!! We love alfredo and mexican – brilliant to mix them! 🙂 I can’t wait to try this!
Jenny @ BAKE says
this dinner looks incredible! I love the Mexican twist
Mommy Dharlz says
wow.. Thanks for the recipe as well as the tip.. I will try this one out. I love Alfredo pasta too
Great dish, Julie! I just love they way you prepared the sauce, you make it simple and so appealing. It makes me want to go cook it right now 😛
Susan @ SwoonMySpoon says
Love the idea of Mexican flavors and Alfredo sauce. Sound delicious! (welcome back!)