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Fettucine alfredo with fresh asparagus

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Joined: 19 Oct 2007
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Location: central PA

PostPosted: Mon Jan 25, 2016 9:01 pm    Post subject: Fettucine alfredo with fresh asparagus Reply with quote

This is a slightly tedious prep, but comes together very quickly and is a very tasty dish.
Originally (2011) attributed to Mario Batali - but I am unable to find any video/photo of the dish, so this is basically me executing the written recipe "ala WingIt."

Home / hand grate about one cup of cheese from a block of good Parmesan cheese.
Do not use the green can stuff, or a fine powdery grate.

80 grams of fettuccine per person; cook to your preferred doneness. Reserve about two cups of the cooking liquid / water prior to draining pasta. (see notes below)

For two, roughly 10 ounces / 280 grams green asparagus, prepared as follows:
Rinse & cut off and reserve the tips.
Boil water in a shallow pan, salt, cook asparagus tips 5-6 minutes - al dente - not mushy. Drain and hold asparagus tips.

Hold the root end, using a vegetable peeler, peel off thin slices of the stalks from root end to tip end; plunk the peels in cold water as you go.
(see notes below)

About 4 minutes prior to "pasta done" - in a non-stick ten inch pan (for two) melt 4 tbsp / 55 grams unsalted butter, add the drained slivered asparagus. Do not salt / pepper until after the cheese has been added and you've checked for seasoning. Toss the asparagus in the pan every 30-50 seconds; do not allow it to saute / fry / clump into a stuck together mass.

After 2-3 minutes, add the drained pasta and toss in the pan to mix, or use utensils, or whatever - to create a nice physical mix of asparagus slivers and pasta. continue to toss and cook about 4 minutes. the thin asparagus slivers cook fast - actually they could be eaten raw.

Sprinkle about 1/3 of the grated Parmesan over the pasta, toss to mix & melt. add reserved pasta water as needed to maintain a tossable consistency. (see notes below on cheese) Repeat, adding a second 1/3 of the grated cheese. Add fresh ground black pepper between tosses to taste.

Reserve the final 1/3 grated cheese for topping.

Using the pasta liquid to keep things moving, add back the asparagus tips to warm through - this only takes 2-3 minutes.

When the cheese has melted and combined with the pasta water to make a nice sauce, plate & serve - I put it on with local bi-color sweet color cut off the cob and frozen last summer. Top with remaining grated Parmesan cheese



Many disappointments / failures come from not knowing how things are going to work out.... so here's my tips on how to make this dish work:

The pasta:
First time I cut the boiling time short, figuring since it would be further cooked, I didn't want it over cooked. Well, it does not actually cook to any further degree being tossed in the pan - so cook it to your preferred degree before draining.

The Asparagus Peels:
Just lift them out of the cold water and into the saute pan. Do not overcook - they only need 2-3 minutes in a sizzling / popping pan. Toss frequently - they will stick / bind together into a mass if left to their own devices. If they stick together, mechanically break up the mass prior to adding the pasta.

The Cheese:
Do NOT add all the cheese at one go in a thick mass. Take some care to sprinkle it thinly over the surface and toss it in to melt. First time I made the dish, I wound up with "globs" of melted Parmesan in the pan - the sprinkles should melt and combine with the (added) water to make a nice sauce
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