Posted by johngl
Technically, I am still vacationing. My cell phone is in the off postion. However, I am back in Austin for the recovery phase of the trip. You will hear about my “Great Adventure on the High Seas” ad nauseum in future posts.
Besides going back to work, about the worst thing about returning from a great vacation is that one now needs to think about cooking one’s own food. And grocery shopping. And emptying the cat’s litter box.
Wanting to keep it simple (in the food prep area), I decided I would whip up some classic Fettuccine Alfredo:
I call this classic because, according to food historians, the original Alfredo’s in Rome did not use cream in the sauce. The restaurant’s owner, one Alfredo di Lelio, tossed butter, Parmesan, and the noodles together tableside.
Alfredo’s remained an obscure and humble Roman eatery for about 20 years or so until George Rector, a columnist for the Saturday Evening Post (among other things) announced it to the world in his column. Then, of course, followed the celebrities including Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. and Mary Pickford who visited Alfredo’s whilst honeymooning in Rome in 1927.
Like the paparazzi on Angelina Jolie, the foodies swarmed. And the rest is history.
So, back to the food:
Find some unadulterated chicken breasts. These days, this single action is more difficult than you might think. Leave the bones in and the skin on.
Place your skillet on low heat and warm it up. Lay on the chicken skin-side down. Keep it on low heat throughout the cooking process. Cover the skillet. Essentially, we are poaching (or steaming) the chicken in it’s own juices. This takes about 20 minutes or so. Don’t rush it. Cook it until the internal temp is no more than 165°F.
Note that I didn’t season the chicken at all. No salt, nothing. Since I had never prepared this dish before, I was afraid of oversalting given the amount of Parmesan this dish has in it.
Assemble your other ingredients:
and the Parmesano Reggiano:
So, that is about 8oz of dried pasta, an entire stick of butter, and a quarter pound of grated Parmesan. I said it was simple I didn’t say it was healthy.
So, carefully melt the butter by heating the pan over low heat. Once the pan is warmed, add the butter:
Add the cooked noodles (please remember to cook the pasta) and the cheese:
Toss this around a bit, then plate and grind a bit of pepper over top.
I’d like to try this again and see if I can get the sauce a little bit smoother. Also, I think I will season the chicken the next time. Surprisingly, the Parmesan wasn’t as salty as I thought it might be.
Naturally, we had wine with the meal. We tried a couple of 1996 Puligny-Montrachets I had in the cellar, but they are over the top and will make some fine vinegar (Yes, I make my own).
After the failed ’96s, we hit upon a 2005 Kendall Jackson Grand Reserve Chardonnay. With an elegant and vibrant bouquet, on the palate, this wine is very well balanced and creamy. The acidity cut through all that fat yet the wine’s buttery back notes complemented the sauce brilliantly.
I have to say that I felt a bit uncoordinated in the kitchen after being away for more than a week. I’ll blame that nasty last leg of the plane ride, cooped up on a tiny aircraft for 3 hours. Or was it emptying that litter box?