Fettuccine Alfredo: Fattening but Delicious

Fettuccine Alfredo: Fattening but Delicious

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  1. Years ago, I had a friend named Alfredo, who preferred to be called Al but most of us called him Gimpy because of his clubfoot. Gimpy was a lot of fun to do things with; he was especially a blast when we played dodge ball, as long as he was on the other team. As one who hated to run and as a result was the slowest kid in high school, I appreciated Gimpy’s presence when we played football or softball because he always made me look lightning quick.

    Gimpy’s mother was pure Italian, one of the sweetest women I’ve ever known and the best cook this side of anywhere; his father was Mexican, even nicer than his wife and was the second best cook this side of anywhere, but by a thin margin. Whether they served Italian or Mexican cuisine, which was all the time, I always ate very well in that household when I was asked to stay for dinner (and they asked often, as I learned the finer qualities of subtle begging at an early age) and I never walked away hungry; and Gimpy’s parents loved to cook for me because—as I came from a large, perpetually hungry family that had taught me that if I wanted second helpings, I had better eat fast—I always cleaned my plate ahead of everyone, and then did so again no fewer than three times. They never had to worry about leftovers.

    Then, one night, Gimpy’s mom made fettuccini Alfredo, which I naturally assumed was her own recipe that she had named after her son, until I saw Gimpy turn his nose up at the stuff (and I had to ask myself why she would name the dish after a son who hated it, until it occurred to me that my mom would probably do exactly that out of her love of irony) and opted instead for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for dinner.

    I had no problem with that, as it meant more for me.

    Gimpy’s mom never served fettuccini Alfredo more than two or three times a year, and for good reason: she knew, even back then, that it was possibly the most fattening dish ever created. Naturally, it’s also one of the tastiest—and doesn’t that always seem to be the case?

    I haven’t simplified this recipe because fettuccini is already very easy to make. While I prefer it with cross-sliced “chicken fingers”, they are a time consuming pain to make; using shelled seafood is much faster, easier and fabulous.

    For this, you will need:

    • 1 package of dry fettuccini
    • ¼ to ½ lb. raw shrimp, shelled and deveined
    • ¼ to ½ lb. scallops (small or bay scallops cut into quarters)
    • butter (salted)
    • 1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
    • 1 cup heavy cream
    • 2 Tbs. crushed garlic (use a garlic press)
    • 1 Tbs. lemon juice
    • 1 Tbs. olive oil
    • Salt
    • Pepper to taste

    The procedure:

    1. Fill a large pot ¾ full with water; bring to a boil over high heat.  Add the noodles, olive oil and 1-2 tsp. salt; cover and return to boiling.  Reduce heat to medium and boil the noodles until tender; drain into a colander.
    2. Add the scallops and shrimp to a large skillet; turn heat on to medium.  Once the pan is hot, turn the seafood.  Do not add butter or oil; the seafood will release a considerable amount of water.  Once the scallops and shrimp are barely cooked (both will shrivel; the shrimp will turn pink), drain them into a strainer.
    3. Return the skillet to medium-low heat; add 1-2 Tbs. butter and move it around the pan to encourage melting.  Do Not Burn the Butter!  Add the garlic and roast it until aromatic, then add the seafood and lemon juice, increase the heat to medium high and cook, stirring constantly, for about a minute.  Remove from heat and empty the seafood and garlic into a bowl.
    4. Return the skillet to the burner over medium heat.  Add the noodles and one stick of butter, cut into eight pieces, and toss the noodles until the butter is completely melted.
    5. Add the cream and stir.  When the cream is hot but not yet bubbling, slowly add the cheese a little at a time, tossing the noodles between every addition.  Once all the cheese is added and the sauce is creamy, add the seafood and toss the noodles until mixed.


    Serve a salad to begin the meal, then serve the fettuccini with garlic bread and a nice white wine (or have a red wine; frankly, I couldn’t care less).

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