There’s a little Italian restaurant in Provo called La Dolce Vita. Kendell and I used to go there all the time when we were dating and just married. The last time we went, Kendell had a cold and wasn’t feeling well and didn’t really want to be there, so he asked the waiter if the cook could just make him a grilled cheese sandwich. I was so embarrassed that we never went back.
We should go back, though. It’s the first place I tasted fettuchini Alfredo and first fell in love with its creamy, salty, buttery delicious goodness. (Is it odd that I was 19 before I knew Alfredo sauce existed? Proof of the era I grew up in? Or just evidence that my mom was anti-butter before anti-butter was cool?)
I’ve tried to make it ever since then, but Alfredo sauce has always been one of my weaknesses as a cook. I’ve tried about half a million recipes, but haven’t ever found anything I love. I always end up going back to the Knorr mix and then feeling ashamed of my cooking prowess.
Today, though, I discovered a new recipe. It wasn’t bland, or too thin, or too thick. It didn’t feel super-fattening (like the one with cream cheese does to me). The texture was perfect and the spices just about right.
Perhaps my search for the perfect Alfredo sauce has ended!
It is a modified version of THIS recipe I found on Pinterest. I wish I'd had some romano, but I didn't and it still was delicious. (Next time I will add romano and some fresh parsley, which I sort of have a crush on lately.) She calls hers “better than Olive Garden” but as I don’t exactly love the Olive Garden’s version, I’m just calling mine the…
Possibly Perfect Alfredo Sauce
(you’re going to need a whisk!)
2 ½ cups half and half
¾ cup heavy cream
2 cups 1% milk (I’d imagine skim or 2% or whole would work just as well)
3 large egg yolks
1 T cornstarch
3-5 garlic cloves, crushed
½ tsp garlic powder
4 T butter, separated
8 oz baby Portobello or other mushrooms, sliced
1 tsp white pepper
¼ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp salt
½ tsp Italian seasoning
lots of freshly-ground pepper
½ cup mozzarella cheese
several handfuls freshly grated Parmesan
1 ½ lbs pasta
Boil water and cook the pasta. Meanwhile, combine the milk, cream, and half & half. Separate the eggs and put the yolks in a small-ish bowl; whisk until smooth. Pour about ¼ cup milk combo into the egg yolks. Pour about ¼ cup of the milk combo into another little bowl. Whisk the cornstarch into the second little bowl. Pour the rest of the milk combo into a large sauce pan. Bring to a simmer. Pour about ½ cup of the hot milk combo into the eggs, whisking continuously while you pour, until smooth. Whisk the cornstarch/milk combo into the tempered eggs, then whisk all of it into the simmering milk combo. (This sounds like a lot of steps…it’s really not! You have to temper the egg yolks or they will just scramble in the hot milk, and cornstarch needs to start in a cold liquid.) Cook over medium-low heat, whisking constantly until it comes to a boil, then boil very gently for 3-4 minutes, whisking occasionally and watching the heat very carefully.
Meanwhile, melt 1 T of butter in a skillet. Add the crushed garlic, reduce heat to low, and let it cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour into the milk combo. In the same pan, melt the rest of the butter, then saute the mushrooms over medium-low heat for about 1 minute. Turn heat to very low (I use my smallest burner for this part) and let the mushrooms sweat.
Add spices to the sauce, then add the cheeses in small sprinkles, whisking between handfuls until completely melted. Taste and adjust spices. Add the mushrooms and butter, whisking again. Serve over cooked pasta, with extra cheese and black pepper on top.
If you want a printable PDF, here you go: Download Alfredo sauce
Let me know if you try it. Happy cooking!
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