MEL × RIVERBEND: Fettuccine alfredo a la Thomas - with broccoli and summer peas
RECIPE SPONSORED BY RIVERBEND GARDENS
“This is the kind of recipe you serve your mother-in-law if you want her to roll out of your house when she leaves.” - Thomas
I do most of the cooking in our house, but Tom has a handful of sensational recipes that he keeps in his back pocket for the days where I really can’t be bothered to cook (or the ones where he feels like treating me to a sprinkle of his culinary genius).
Tom has been making this particular pasta recipe for as long as I’ve known him, and it’s still part of our special occasions rotation today. I’ll be frank in saying it’s definitely not something that makes it to our table more than a two or three times a year, as it truly is an indulgent dish.
A friend told me that Alfredo sauce is completely absent in Italy. So, there’s no real saying where this is from. I can tell you however that Alfredo pasta is quite popular in Quebec. Most of us have, at some time or other, had some form of it from a glass jar or a simply-add-milk type of pouch.
This alfredo sauce recipe is neither here nor there.
While it is made from very few ingredients, don’t be fooled by its simplicity. When combined, these ingredients sing each other’s praises and make for a dish worthy of a queen. It’s very creamy, perfectly umami and a touch on the salty side. One must approach it with a certain sense of epicurean greed and appreciate that your tablemates may not want to share their bowls as they relish in every bite.
Gratitude for the hands that cook
This recipe always floods me with gratitude towards Tom and the time he takes to cook for me. Especially at the height of summer when it is his busiest season. I feel like it's one of the gifts of life that keeps on giving. This seemingly simple act of kindness fills my cup in more ways than I can explain.
It has me reaching for the quote on my desk (sent to me by a friend & pen pal) which you can see in the photos. It reads:
“I am grateful for what I am and have. My thanksgiving is perpetual. It is surprising how contented one can be with nothing definite, only a sense of existence. My breath is sweet to me. O how I laugh when I think of my vague, indefinite riches. No run on my bank can drain it, for my wealth is not possession but enjoyment.” - Henry David Thoreau
¼ lb salted butter
473 ml heavy cream (35% or more)
250 g parmesan
1 package fettuccine
16 large raw shrimps
1 C freshly shelled peas
2 C broccoli florets
* the three cups of veg can be swapped out for greens like kale, spinach or collards
10 min PREP + 20 cook
- Place a large pot of salted water to boil.
- Add butter over medium heat to a pan large enough to accommodate all of the ingredients.
- Place pasta in the water and cook until al dente (usually a few minutes less than the package indicates) then drain.
- keep a little bit of the cooking water in case your sauce doesn't thicken to your liking
- Once butter is melted, add cream.
- Once cream has begun to simmer, reduce heat to medium-low and incorporate Parmesan a little at a time
- When the Parmesan is completely incorporated, add the shrimp and veggies.
- If the sauce is still very liquid, add the pasta water.
- The minute the shrimp turn fully pink, add the drained pasta, toss well and serve immediately.
- Keep an eye on the butter as it’s melting and don’t let it brown. Add the cream in as soon as your butter is fully melted.
- Keep a bit (2-3 T) of pasta water in case your sauce doesn’t thicken enough, the starch will help it thicken.