Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Recipe Spotlight: Fettuccine Alfredo and Spinach Salad with Honey Mustard Vinaigrette

Pasta has always been my ideal comfort food. Red sauce is my typical go-to topping, but sometimes a white sauce can really up the comfort factor. Fettuccine Alfredo is an extremely popular Italian- American restaurant entree. It seems that someone in the group always orders it. Maybe it's the thought that "I could never make this at home," maybe it's the delectable creaminess, or maybe it's the knowledge that it's slightly sinful, but clearly Fettuccine Alfredo is a real treat. Traditional Alfredo sauce is made with only two ingredients- butter and Parmesan cheese. This lightened-up version trades most of the butter for milk, and is easy enough to make at home any night of the week!

Fettuccine Alfredo
A plate of creamy hot pasta- mmmm. 
Serves 2-3

1/2 lb. Fettuccine noodles
1 tblsp. butter
1 tblsp. flour
1/4 sweet onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 c. whole milk, 2% milk, or half and half (I used whole)
1/2 c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. kosher salt

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook noodles to al dente according to package directions. Meanwhile heat a medium saucepan over medium heat. Melt butter and add flour, whisking to combine. Add onions and garlic and cook for two minutes until softened. (If the pan seems dry add a little more butter.) Add milk and cook for 3-4 minutes to reduce slightly. Do not allow it to boil. Stir in Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper and turn heat to low to keep warm.

When noodles are finished cooking drain and add to milk mixture. Use tongs to work the noodles to fully coat in sauce. Serve on warmed plates and top with extra Parmesan, pepper and salt if desired. I served my fettuccine with garlic breadsticks and pre-cooked chicken meatballs. It would also be delicious with grilled chicken, sliced Italian sausage, or grilled vegetables.

Spinach Salad with Honey Mustard Vinaigrette
A healthy and delicious side salad. 

Serves 2

For the salad:
Baby spinach leaves
Sliced red onion
Fresh chopped tomato
Crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
Diced avocado

For the dressing:
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. honey
2 tblsp. white wine vinegar or fresh lemon juice
4 tblsp. extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper

To make the dressing whisk Dijon, honey and vinegar together in a small bowl. Slowly pour in extra virgin olive oil while briskly whisking to combine dressing. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Combine the salad ingredients and toss with dressing.

Recipes by Sarah Saubert

Wine of the Night

Protocolo, a 100% tempranillo wine from Spain, was a delightful accompaniment to the creamy fettuccine and fresh salad. Protocolo is a smooth, mild and satisfying dry red with cherry undertones that lend enough sweetness to avoid overshadowing the food. It is also delicious on its own and at $8/bottle it's affordable enough to drink any night of the week!

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