December 17, 2013

Alfredo sauce (without cream)

Alfredo sauce is a white sauce made with butter, cream, milk & cheese. It is good for all kind of pasta dishes especially as pasta sauce in lasagna. Fettucine alfredo is one of the first & foremost recipe made with alfredo sauce dates back to 1914 (wow!!!!) and gained popularity from 1920 through a couple of American tourists to Rome!

They say, bechamel sauce (French origin) is the mother sauce of French cuisine. Bechamel sauce is made with a roux of flour & butter cooked in milk. Traditionally alfredo sauce is made with cream. As I did not have any cream in stock, I decided to extend the bechamel sauce with added flavorings & cheese. Voila, I got the smoothest, creamiest, cheeziest white sauce ever without the cream!

The trick to get a smooth sauce is to continuously whisk the mixture and break lumps, if any.
- Always cook sauce in low-medium heat.
- When adding flour to the butter & milk to the butter-flour roux, I removed my pan away from the stove which helped in avoiding lumps.
- When adding milk, add about 3/4 of a cup of milk at first, whisk until smooth and then add rest of the milk.
- You can also flavor your milk (while boiling separately) with bay leaves (1 no) / cloves (2 nos) / powdered nutmeg (1/2 tsp) and then add it to the butter-flour roux.

Here's a little math for a good sauce,
1 tbsp of butter + 1 tbsp of flour + 1 cup of milk = thinner sauce
2 tbsp of butter + 2 tbsp of flour + 1 cup of milk = medium sauce
3 tbsp of butter + 3 tbsp of flour + 1 cup of milk = thick sauce and, this recipe is for a thick sauce. Adjust the butter/flour/milk mixture depending on how you would like your sauce consistency to be!

Basic Info
Complexity - Simple
Prep time - 5 mins
Cook time - 10 mins
Serves - about 2 cups of sauce

Unsalted butter - 3 tbsp
All purpose flour - 3 tbsp
Milk - 2 cups (I used 2% milkfat)
Salt - 1 tsp
Freshly ground pepper - 1/2 tsp
Dried basil - 1/2 tsp
Garlic powder - 1/2 tsp
Parmesan cheese - 1/2 cup, grated
Parsley - 1 tbsp, finely chopped (I used mint leaves)

Melt butter on medium heat in a sauce-pan. Add all-purpose flour and whisk until smooth, without any lumps.

In the meanwhile, boil the milk in a separate pan and keep it ready.

Slowly pour in the "boiled" milk and whisk until smooth again. Keep whisking until the sauce starts to thicken. Add salt, pepper, parmesan cheese, basil, garlic powder, parsley and mix well. Remove from heat.

Cook the pasta as per the package instructions. Add hot sauce over the cooked pasta as desired, top it with additional pepper/cheese and enjoy!!

- The sauce will thicken as it cools. If it thickens too much, thin it with little milk and whisk well.
- Thanks to wiki for I took few of the info from wiki for this post!