Sunday, August 28, 2011

Fettuccine Alfredo

Living in a college dorm room usually means dining on artificial foods that are cheap and easy to fix in a microwave. I certainly was no stranger to Kraft's Easy Mac my freshman year at UF. Luckily, I didn't have to survive on the blue box alone. Whenever I returned to Murphree Hall after seeing Nanna, I carried a cooler full of frozen treats back with me. That's because Nanna had the habit of making and freezing many of my favorite foods. She'd portion out individual serving sizes, and then wrap the food up in plastic wrap, followed by foil in order to keep it from becoming freezer burnt.

Surprisingly, fettuccine alfredo freezes very well, and since Nanna knew it was one of my favorites, it became a staple in my dorm room freezer. It was a great feeling to take a break from studying, grab a foil block from the freezer, and then within minutes, enjoy a piping hot bowl of Nanna's fettuccine alfredo.

Now that the school year is about to start, I decided to whip up a batch of fettuccine alfredo and freeze individual serving sizes for impromptu lunches. My classroom's mini-fridge is the perfect place to stow a few blocks; it beats Lean Cuisine any day.

Fettuccine Alfredo

Yield: 4 servings

3/4 pound dried fettuccine
1 stick unsalted butter
2/3 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Pinch of freshly cracked pepper
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
2 tablespoons fresh flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

Cook the fettuccine in a large pot of rapidly boiling salted water until al dente, about 8-10 minutes. Reserve a 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking liquid and then drain. Return the fettuccine to the dry pot. Be sure it is removed from the heat.

Meanwhile, as the fettuccine cooks, place the butter and cream in a 10-inch pan over medium heat. Stirring constantly, cook the mixture until it is blended and has bubbled for 2 minutes. Add salt, pepper, and nutmeg.

Remove the butter-cream mixture from the heat. Gradually whisk in the Parmesan cheese until thoroughly blended. Pour the sauce over the drained fettuccine. Toss with 2 forks until the pasta is coated. When the sauce has slightly thickened, add the parsley. If the sauce has thickened too much, it can be thinned with the reserved pasta water until it reaches the desired consistency.

Garnish with more parsley. Serve immediately.

If freezing, transfer the fettuccine to a square [8x8 or 9x9] container and refrigerate until firm. Cut the fettuccine into bricks, and then wrap in plastic wrap, followed by foil. Place blocks into a gallon sized freezer bag that is labeled and dated. The fettuccine should keep for at least 3 months in the freezer.

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