Wednesday, August 11, 2010

What separates the Italians from the "I" -talians

As most of you know I am expecting another baby in December.  I have been trying to eat healthy foods, but this last week I just craved something hearty and something to "stick-to-your ribs".  I have a recipe for Alfredo Sauce, but I wanted one that was REALLY good.  So, I looked up Emeril's recipe on the Food Network.

As I was looking at the comments about it, I came across one that was pretty pretentious, but it caught my eye as it said, "I have enjoyed Fettucine Alfredo in several restaurants throughout Italy, including the original "Alfredo's Ristarante" and not one of them used cream...."    Then it got me wondering, "What do they use?"  I then looked up Alfredo's Ristarante in Rome and found the story of the creation of Alfredo Sauce.  

Here's the link and the story: Alfredo's Ristarante of Rome  "The Original Fettuccine Alfredo was created in 1914 by Alfredo Di Lelio, concocted to tempt the palate of his pregnant wife who had lost her appetite.  Alfredo went to his kitchen, mixed egg noodles with the finest parmigiano cheese and butter and created a dish even his wife couldn't resist.  The rest is history!"  I felt I could really relate with this story.

I went to our local, Italian bakery and got some fresh fettucine (I could have made my own, but didn't quite have that much energy) and some imported proscuitto to add to the dish. (Note: Imported is so much better than the Domestic.) Then I went to the local grocery store and bought fresh, grated Parmigiano cheese and went home to make this meal.  Here's the recipe link: Alfredo Sauce Recipe.

I cut up the proscuitto and cooked it and the peas separately because you don't actually cook the sauce.   The secret to cooking proscuitto is to not cook it too long because it will dry out and be crunchy.  Make sure you keep a careful watch on it.  As soon as it's heated through, shut it off!  (And, yes, I already knew this and did it right.)

 Then I pulsed the room temp. butter and cheese in my food processor and waited for the noodles to be done.  Look at how soft and fluffy it is!

Then I mixed it all together and got a great response from my husband and girls.  Aubrey wanted 3 bowls and Angelina asked for another helping.  Jeremy's response was, "Wow!  This is amazing!"  I think it was a hit!  Look at how nicely it coats the noodles. 

In short, this, my friends, is what separates the true Italians from the "I"-talians.  (You know the want-to-bes who annoyingly pronouce it "eye"talian!)  Who would have thought that there was such a science to a good Alfredo Sauce?  Enjoy!

South of the Border

This meal has to be one of my favorites not only because it's so colorful, but also because it's so easy to make and has so many wonderful flavors!

This is my infamous Taco Chicken.  Put taco seasoning in a ziplock bag.  Place a piece of chicken in the bag and shake it until coated (like shake-n-bake) and then bake in the oven at 425 for 20 min. or until done.  For the last 5 minutes, I put a jar of salsa over the chicken until the salsa is heated through.  To serve top with shredded cheese (I use Monterey Jack), a dallop of sour cream, and sliced black olives.  Serve with some rice, pico de gallo, and guacamole and you're done!

 I make my guacamole very simply because I want to taste as much of the avocado without drowning it in other stuff.  Mine consists of mashed avocado, 1 clove of fresh, pressed garlic, and juice from 1/2 of a lime. Mix until blended.

I also made bean and cheese dip - I know there is a name for this, but I can't think of it now.  Anyway, it's not very diet friendly, but it sure tastes good with the tortilla chips with a hint of lime.   I tried to at least help myself a little by getting the fat-free refried beans!  I found this cheese sauce and just mixed it together with the beans and microwaved it until heated through.

I asked the girls to help set the table that night.  I came out to find them so proud of themselves because they made a Mickey Mouse out of the plates and silverware.  You never know what you're going to get when you ask 4 yr. olds to help!  You do get a good laugh sometimes though.