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Simple Alfredo Sauce gone horribly wrong

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 

I use my phone to pull up recipes. The latest was to make an Alfredo sauce. I got a simple recipe from Allrecipes.com and I followed it *mostly* to the letter:

 

I put 1/4 cup butter into the pan; melted it and added 1 cup heavy cream and simmered for 5 minutes (stirring occasionally, though the recipe didn't mention stirring). I then added 1/2 cup shredded parmesan and crushed/chopped garlic and whisked quickly.  It was looking great at this point.  My deviation was adding another 1 cup chopped soft Fontina cheese because a reviewer on Allrecipes said that Parmesan is hard and doesn't always completely melt and that they substitute Guyere, but I saw this Fontina in the grocery store which advertised itself as: "smooth, buttery texture melts beautifully" and figured it would do the trick.

 

I figured I didn't need to shred it since it was a soft cheese and it would probably just make a mess trying to shred it so I chopped it up into pieces the size of the top of my thumb (from the tip to the first joint). The Fontina wasn't playing nice, though, with the creamy concoction it was added to. Admittedly, I did let the heat get too high at some point without constant stirring and maybe I overheated it? At any rate, the more I whisked and tried to salvage it the more it congealed and separated from the rest of the Alfredo and became a congealed lump. The rest of the Alfredo was perfect. So it was basically a perfect Alfredo sauce with a big lumpy thing smooshing around in it.

 

I am wondering is there anyway I can get the congealed, overcooked Fontina to mix in with the Alfredo when I reheat the leftovers? Or has chemistry dictated it will forever be in this horrendous, lumpy state?

 

Here is how my Alfredo looked once it had cooled some: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g5RZclAYi4A

post #2 of 25

Is the one you used? - http://allrecipes.com/recipe/219767/buttery-alfredo-sauce/  if so I don't see any mention of flour in your post.  There is a difference between "shredded" and "grated" parms.  If you are taking it off the block use a micro plane.  You can also use the dried, grated, powdery type of parm.  

 

Looks like you're suffering more from lack of technique than anything else.  Practice, practice, practice.  There are no "natural born cooks" - cooks are made.  Adapt, improvise, overcome.  Once you learn how ingredients work and work with each other in a context the lights will start going on.  :thumb: 

post #3 of 25

Original Alfredo pasta means fresh thin fettuccine, some of the salted cooking water, butter and a lot of grated parmesan. Nothing else. No gruyere, no fontina, no garlic, no... 

Gebe Gott uns allen, uns Trinkern, einen so leichten und so schönen Tod! Joseph Roth.
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Gebe Gott uns allen, uns Trinkern, einen so leichten und so schönen Tod! Joseph Roth.
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post #4 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by ordo View Post
 

Original Alfredo pasta means fresh thin fettuccine, some of the salted cooking water, butter and a lot of grated parmesan. Nothing else. No gruyere, no fontina, no garlic, no... 

Cream, butter and Parmesan, and  Black Pepper.

Anything else is not authentic Alfredo.

post #5 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by ordo View Post
 

Original Alfredo pasta means fresh thin fettuccine, some of the salted cooking water, butter and a lot of grated parmesan. Nothing else. No gruyere, no fontina, no garlic, no... 

 

Ordo is right - I was commenting on the linked recipe.  I don't make it myself I'd rather make carbonara.

post #6 of 25

As Mike said, I think it's technique.  I would never add parmesan to a pan while on the heat.  I believe the classic technique is to slowly melt the butter taking care not to let it get too hot and separate, slowly whisk in the cream.  Continue whisking until the mixture is hot.  Remove from heat, drain the pasta and immediately add it to the cream and butter.  Add the cheese and toss to combine.  Serve with black pepper

If you make a pizza you can eat for a day.  If you make two pizzas you can eat for a day.
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If you make a pizza you can eat for a day.  If you make two pizzas you can eat for a day.
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post #7 of 25

Authentic Alfredo contains no flour.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #8 of 25

Check at 2.50 and forgive the verborragic italians. There's a pasta cook and a mantecatore! Mamma mía!

 

Gebe Gott uns allen, uns Trinkern, einen so leichten und so schönen Tod! Joseph Roth.
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Gebe Gott uns allen, uns Trinkern, einen so leichten und so schönen Tod! Joseph Roth.
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post #9 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by chefedb View Post
 

Authentic Alfredo contains no flour.


Fake Alfrado does! In the work place cafe that we used to serve low cost meals the Alfredo was thickened with a roux while using a non dairy creamer in a chicken stock. The cheap Clam chowder was also made with non dairy creamer. At that time the specials were $4.50 and the chowder was .95......

post #10 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChefBillyB View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by chefedb View Post
 

Authentic Alfredo contains no flour.


Fake Alfrado does! In the work place cafe that we used to serve low cost meals the Alfredo was thickened with a roux while using a non dairy creamer in a chicken stock. The cheap Clam chowder was also made with non dairy creamer. At that time the specials were $4.50 and the chowder was .95......

 

If I may speak for the entire site, YUCK!

If you make a pizza you can eat for a day.  If you make two pizzas you can eat for a day.
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If you make a pizza you can eat for a day.  If you make two pizzas you can eat for a day.
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post #11 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by ordo View Post
 

Original Alfredo pasta means fresh thin fettuccine, some of the salted cooking water, butter and a lot of grated parmesan. Nothing else. No gruyere, no fontina, no garlic, no... 


This is correct.  Add cream, flour, or other ingredient and you have made yourself a cheese sauce, not Alfredo.

post #12 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChefBillyB View Post
 


Fake Alfrado does! In the work place cafe that we used to serve low cost meals the Alfredo was thickened with a roux while using a non dairy creamer in a chicken stock. The cheap Clam chowder was also made with non dairy creamer. At that time the specials were $4.50 and the chowder was .95......

 

Mean Kiwi is checking on you!

 

Gebe Gott uns allen, uns Trinkern, einen so leichten und so schönen Tod! Joseph Roth.
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Gebe Gott uns allen, uns Trinkern, einen so leichten und so schönen Tod! Joseph Roth.
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post #13 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hank View Post
 

 

If I may speak for the entire site, YUCK!


Also used for cheese sauce, and country gravy. You would not believe how many restaurants do this. Don't judge, I build a very profitable business on serving good food and being cost effective.

post #14 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by ordo View Post
 

 

Mean Kiwi is checking on you!

 

:peace:

post #15 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by ordo View Post

Check at 2.50 and forgive the verborragic italians. There's a pasta cook and a mantecatore! Mamma mía!



This is a lovely way of preparing Alfredo. I love how in Italian the "chef" is labelled simply "cuoco" which means "cook."
Interesting that the dish itself seems so simple to prepare. The linguine is barely drained so the pasta water can combine with the butter and cheese on top, and tossed at tableside.

Thanks for the video, and the Italian didn't bother me in the slightest. (On day 40 of duolingo Italian, so it's nice that I can sort of understand what is being spoken.)

Jason Sandeman

http://jasonsandeman.com

Developing Systems So You Can Cook

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Jason Sandeman

http://jasonsandeman.com

Developing Systems So You Can Cook

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post #16 of 25

I dunno. I think you can still use other cheeses, alter the method a bit and still call it Alfredo. 

 

Why not? It's a "white" sauce with pasta, right? 

 

As a side note, I have two rabbit fur pillows. One is named Alfredo, the other Coco.

 

I can post pictures later if anyone is interested. 

post #17 of 25

Why do people think the internet is the best place to garner a recipe. It is not!.

 

There is no cream in Alfredo Sauce nor is the butter premelted. The pasta is egg pasta made with winter hard wheat, European cold sweet butter and a youthful finely grated parmesan Reggiano that is relatively softer than the kind sold by Kraft in the green can. Retain about 3/4 cup of the  hot salted water from the boiled pasta. Toss for three minutes in a hot platter until positively creamy.

 

This is not the only cheftalk forum on Alfredo. See my previous post : The original thread posted by Katevans74

 

The technique presented in the  video below is correct except Alfredo is always fettucine never linguine.

post #18 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve TPHC View Post

Why do people think the internet is the best place to garner a recipe. It is not!.

There is no cream in Alfredo Sauce nor is the butter premelted. The pasta is egg pasta made with winter hard wheat, European cold sweet butter and a youthful finely grated parmesan Reggiano that is relatively softer than the kind sold by Kraft in the green can. Retain about 3/4 cup of the  hot salted water from the boiled pasta. Toss for three minutes in a hot platter until positively creamy.

This is not the only cheftalk forum on Alfredo. See my previous post : The original thread posted byKatevans74

The technique presented in the  video below is correct except Alfredo is always fettucine never linguine.

I agree that there are many recipies online that are questionable but still think it is a great medium to find them. A smart person looks at many different recipies for the same dish and can figure out the key components and techniques needed to make it.

It is also correct that the version of Alfredo you listed is the original and most authentic, but I think the Americanized version with cream is still an acceptable form. When Alfredo gained popularity in the US in the 50s, they did not have access to the really good butter and parmasean found in Italy so cream needed to be added to reproduce the texture. More people now see that as the true Alfredo versus the original.

as a side note, There is also a school of thought that thinks it is not the ingredients, but the technique of mixing the noodles, butter, and cheese is what makes it Alfredo.

But in the end, if it tastes great, who cares? eat it!
post #19 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hank View Post
 

 

If I may speak for the entire site, YUCK!

 

  It's only YUCK! to the people who know better. 

 

  If you're used to eating at the company cafeteria, and can't normally afford to go out to eat at a better level of restaurant, this may be what you perceive as 'normal' and it tastes just fine, maybe it's even a little fancy, because of the name.

 

  Sadly, I know quite a few peole who would complain that the real thing is 'too rich' or 'not what they thought it was', because they've never had the 'real thing'.

 

  Remember - to some people, a McD's burger is a treat  <shrug>

post #20 of 25

I think it's helpful to reduce 1 c cream to about 2/3 cups, season with salt and pepper and add an additional 1/2 c cream to not make the sauce too thick.  Keep warm.

 

Cook and drain a pound of fettuccine, saving some of the cooking water.  Add the cream and about 3/4 c parmesan, using the pasta water to thin it out if necessary.  Eat soon as all Alfredo thickens eventually.

 

I think this is pretty close to the original but user friendly.

post #21 of 25

So I stand corrected on both my YUCK comment on ChefBilly's real world use of roux and non-dairy creamer, and also on Alfredo having no cream, the latter being kind of funny to me since Pasta Alfredo is essentially Pasta con Burro y Formaggio, which a couple years ago a friend in Lucca pointed out sound much better in Italian than in English.

If you make a pizza you can eat for a day.  If you make two pizzas you can eat for a day.
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If you make a pizza you can eat for a day.  If you make two pizzas you can eat for a day.
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post #22 of 25

Yeah I wouldn't add fontina to the sauce in the first place. Next time try grating it over the top. Also, if you are going to try and melt it into a sauce, try grating it. You put thumb sized pieces in the sauce, most likely they didn't melt quite right and were too big. 

 

You could try heating up the sauce again and blending it until smooth....might be your only move at this point. Be careful though, don't want the liquid to splash everywhere esp. if it is hot. 

post #23 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hank View Post
 

So I stand corrected on both my YUCK comment on ChefBilly's real world use of roux and non-dairy creamer, and also on Alfredo having no cream, the latter being kind of funny to me since Pasta Alfredo is essentially Pasta con Burro y Formaggio, which a couple years ago a friend in Lucca pointed out sound much better in Italian than in English.


Hank, I could never use a non dairy creamer and roux in Pasta Al Burro Con Formaggio. I remember cooking lunch in one of my employee Cafes.  This guy came over to me and asked if I made the Chicken Parmesan, I told him I was. He raved about how good it was and that he bought something this good in his work place cafeteria. He told me it was every bit as good as the best Chicken Parmesan he had at Olive Garden. Of course It wasn't a real proud  moment  for me I have Chefed in fine dining. I laughed to myself and thought I have finally reached the level of a Chain Italian Restaurant. I thought about this guy and figured Olive Garden was the highest quality Italian food he has ever gone to. As a Chef it was always up to me to make the food the best quality I could using the food I could afford for that operation. I have known people who travel to the coast and loved the think full of potatoes with one clam sitting on top bowl of clam chowder. These same people hated the fine dining bowl of thinner clam chowder that was full of clams in a rich creamy broth. It all depends on where you are and the quality you want to serve to the clientele your serving. I always remember the saying " One mans garbage is another mans treasure" it helps me remember where I am.

post #24 of 25

Here I thought Alfredo was subject to interpretation like so many other "traditional" recipes that people play fast and loose with. 

post #25 of 25

Half of cooking in a professional kitchen is taking cheap/free/inexpensive food and making it seem more than what it is.  That is what we do when we use leftovers or take cheap cuts of meat and make them delicious.  At the end of the day, if what you are being served looks and tastes good, does it really matter how it got to that point?  The only issue I would have with that is if you are at a fine dinning restaurant and doing these things.  Fine dinning costs more because, in theory, you are paying for better quality food as well as other things.

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