Saturday, 12 May 2018

The bastard Alfredo

pasta simplicity
Cottage cheese anyone? Paneer perhaps? Cottage cheese has always had a bad reputation.Some people are only familiar with the fat-free version and think of it only as diet food, meant to be mixed with pineapple chunks and not much else. Others are probably put off by the texture, which admittedly looks a little weird but actually tastes pretty great, in my opinion. No matter what your position is on the creamy, curd-filled dairy product, it's time to expand your horizons and channel your inner Little Miss Muffet.
One of the most classic dishes on every "Italian-American" menu is fettuccine alfredo. But did you know that what Americans consider to be alfredo sauce is rarely eaten in Italy? "The Italian-American" version of alfredo usually consists of lashings of cream and fat parmesan cheese. In Italy, however, cream is not used very often to make sauces, they consider it to be too heavy and thick.
Well I am sorry to disappoint you if you are looking forward to eating Fettucine Alfredo in Italy you won’t find it.  It isn’t Italian.  Well, that isn’t entirely true, actually.  You can get it in Italy, but you will never find anything like it it on a menu,or certainly not by that name.  To get you in the right frame of mind here,think of ordering a totally non authentic vindaloo in an English curry house or even better imagine I served you cheese on toast, and I told you that this was a special dish I call ‘Tosta alla Cozinheiro’, you would be laughing at me all the way to the toaster? Fettuccine Alfredo falls into that realm for an Italian.
So where did this bastard alfredo come from? The story goes that in 1914, a man named Alfredo di Lelio was trying to cook something that would please his pregnant wife. He created a sauce made from parmesan cheese and extra butter ("triplo burro") and poured it over some fettuccine. Di Lelio then opened up a restaurant in Rome and served his fettuccine dish.
Fettuccine Alfredo to our friends across the pond is a dish made from fettuccine tossed with Parmesan cheese and copious amounts of cream and heart rending lashings of butter. As the cheese melts, it emulsifies the liquids to form a smooth and rich sauce coating the pasta. In other words, it is a bastardised version of the Italian dish ( pasta al burro e parmigiano). Alfredo di Lelio gave it this name at his restaurants in Rome, in the early to mid 20th century.
The dish became popularized and eventually spread to the United States. The recipe has evolved and its commercialized version is now ubiquitous with heavy cream and other ingredients high in cholesterol.
The dish was so well known that di Lelio was invited to demonstrate it both in Italy and abroad. The fame of the dish, called on Alfredo's menus "maestosissime fettuccine all'Alfredo" 'most majestic fettuccine, Alfredo style', came largely from a "spectacle reminiscent of grand opera" when Alfredo prepared it at the table.Fettuccine Alfredo, minus the spectacle, has now become ubiquitous in Italian-style restaurants outside Italy, although in Italy this dish is usually called simply "fettuccine al burro".

Well so the story goes and I am sorry to have digressed, but to cut a long story short I have found a way to make an equally delicious but lower cholesterol version of pasta Alfredo using cottage cheese.Well here goes and hopefully no coronary side effects...
Cottage Cheese Alfredo
A  less rich,but nevertheless creamy alternative to heavy alfredo, made with cottage cheese.You can play around with the ingredients to create your own taste sensation.I threw in a generous sprinkling of Cajun spice to give it a bit of peppery whoop la la Tastes just like the real thing... or maybe even better!


250g Durum wheat pasta of your choice with no traces of egg
1/2 cup milk (low-fat)

1/2 cup greek yoghurt
1/2 cup cottage cheese,
drained
1 tbsp cornflour
 flor de sal

1 tsp dried basil
generous grating of nutmeg
cracked black pepper pepper
2 large cloves crushed garlic, or more to taste
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
or Pecorino Romano cheese
fresh basil or parsley, to garnish
Put all ingredients, except fresh basil, into food processor or blender and blend until smooth.
Pour mixture in small saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat,stirring constantly until heated through and smooth.Check for seasoning as you stir, Adding more parmesan,salt, pepper (or other seasonings), to taste.
Let cook on very low heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add cooked pasta right before serving and let soak in for a couple minutes.


TIPS:Make double treble or quadruple the quantity and put in the freezer for multiple midweek suppers.You can also use this for a lasagna to replace the bechamel,or as a sauce for your favourite home made gnocchi or gnudi.

2 comments:

  1. HISTORY OF ALFREDO DI LELIO CREATOR IN 1908 OF “FETTUCCINE ALL’ALFREDO” (“FETTUCCINE ALFREDO”), NOW SERVED BY HIS NEPHEW INES DI LELIO, AT THE RESTAURANT “IL VERO ALFREDO” – “ALFREDO DI ROMA” IN ROME, PIAZZA AUGUSTO IMPERATORE 30

    With reference to your article I have the pleasure to tell you the history of my grandfather Alfredo Di Lelio, who is the creator of “Fettuccine all’Alfredo” (“Fettuccine Alfredo”) in 1908 in the “trattoria” run by his mother Angelina in Rome, Piazza Rosa (Piazza disappeared in 1910 following the construction of the Galleria Colonna / Sordi). This “trattoria” of Piazza Rosa has become the “birthplace of fettuccine all’Alfredo”.
    More specifically, as is well known to many people who love the “fettuccine all’Alfredo", this famous dish in the world was invented by Alfredo Di Lelio concerned about the lack of appetite of his wife Ines, who was pregnant with my father Armando (born February 26, 1908).
    Alfredo di Lelio opened his restaurant “Alfredo” in 1914 in Rome and in 1943, during the war, he sold the restaurant to others outside his family.
    In 1950 Alfredo Di Lelio decided to reopen with his son Armando his restaurant in Piazza Augusto Imperatore n.30 "Il Vero Alfredo" (“Alfredo di Roma”), whose fame in the world has been strengthened by his nephew Alfredo and that now managed by me, with the famous “gold cutlery” (fork and spoon gold) donated in 1927 by two well-known American actors Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks (in gratitude for the hospitality).
    See the website of “Il Vero Alfredo” (also per franchising news) .
    I must clarify that other restaurants "Alfredo" in Rome do not belong and are out of my brand "Il Vero Alfredo – Alfredo di Roma".
    I inform you that the restaurant “Il Vero Alfredo –Alfredo di Roma” is in the registry of “Historic Shops of Excellence” of the City of Rome Capitale.
    Best regards Ines Di Lelio

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  2. Thank you Ines for this fascinating history of your restaurant and your grandfather.thank you so much for taking the time to read my blog.Next time in Rome i will for sure visit your restaurant.

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