Pasta is one of my favorite things to eat and one of the first things I learnt to cook. I think pasta is such a versatile ingredient because it allows you to play around with so many different food pairings. One of my favorite types of pasta dish is Fettuccine Alfredo. Over the years, I have made this dish with so many different ingredients and in so many various ways. But I have learnt that sticking with simple ingredients and the right technique, allows for a rich, flavorful, and comforting dish.
This delicious dish is made up of three main ingredients: boiled pasta, cold butter and fresh parmesan. And becomes extra creamy because of the mantecatura technique used. Mantecatura is a technique used in Italian cooking which emulsifies and binds together your pasta with the other ingredients to create a creamy consistency.
After allowing your pasta to cook al dente, in a clean pan on medium heat melt together butter and parmesan for about 2-4 minutes. Add in the pasta and using tongs or two forks, mix all the ingredients together for about 5-7 minutes. As you are mixing, you want to gradually add in pasta water, which releases starch and helps everything thicken and become creamier. This is the mantecatura process and is the key step in making sure you have a smooth and velvety sauce.
There isn't an exact measurement of how much pasta water you need to add, but as you reach the right consistency you can lower the heat. At this point, I like to add in salt, pepper and a few other spices to give it a little kick. This pasta is a showstopper on it's own, but I love adding some sort of protein for a more balanced meal. Grilled shrimp is my go-to but chicken, tofu, or broccoli will all taste amazing as well.
What I love about this dish is that it takes about 20 minutes from start to finish and other than grating my parmesan, there is no prep work. It's the perfect quick weeknight meal, but without comprising on any of the flavor!
Serving Size: 4-6 people
Ingredients for Fettuccine:
1 lb fettuccine pasta
1 cup parmesan, freshly grated
6 tablespoons cold butter, sliced
1 teaspoon of the following: dried oregano, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, dried basil
Salt and pepper, to taste
Optional: fresh basil, to garnish
Ingredients for Shrimp:
1 lb Shrimp, peeled and deveined (recommended: Wild Red Argentinian Shrimp)
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
½ tablespoon of the following: black pepper, red pepper flakes, italian seasoning,
Salt, to taste
1-2 tablespoons of butter or oil, to grill
Boil a large pot of salted water and cook pasta al dente according to package instructions.
Meanwhile, in a bowl mix together your shrimp with salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes, and italian seasoning. Heat up 1-2 tablespoons of oil or butter with the minced garlic in a cast iron or griddle pan. Add shrimp and cook about 3-5 minutes on each side or until they turn pink.
In a clean pan, melt together the cold butter and grated parmesan for about 2-3 minutes on medium heat. Add in the pasta straight from the boiling water and mix together using tongs. Gradually add in pasta water as needed, and continue tossing the pasta together for about 5-7 minutes until desired consistency is achieved.
Lower the heat, and add in salt, black pepper, dried oregano, red pepper flakes, garlic powder, and dried basil.
Mix together until everything is well combined. Serve with grilled shrimp and garnish with freshly shaved parmesan or basil leaves.