Friday, October 22, 2010

From My Kitchen: Easy Homemade Alfredo Sauce

Whew! I made it through the week. Jeff left early, early Monday morning for a conference and got home early, early this morning. This is a tough enough gig with a partner. Without it's exhausting.

So what does the exhausted cook make for four kids? Their favorite: noodles with sprinkle cheese. Most days that's noodles with olive oil and a generous sprinkling of grated parmesan cheese, also known as "sprinkle cheese" around here. I use good old Kraft, straight out of the package.

On days when I'm not so tired, the kids get noodles with mama's special sprinkle cheese sauce, also known as alfredo sauce to the adults in the family. Yes, homemade alfredo sauce. It's fast and easy. Well, not as fast and easy as olive oil and a sprinkling of parmesan, but still fast and easy. But once you make your own you'll never buy a jar of alfredo sauce again.

The recipe starts with a basic white sauce, and then gets a little loose from there. I always start with real butter. But I don't always use exactly the same amount of parmesan. Sometimes I add garlic powder. Sometimes I don't. When I'm making this for a special occasion, I use half and half, or even cream if I'm feeling especially indulgent and thin. Sometimes I just use whole milk, which I always have on hand. It isn't quite as creamy that way, but it's still delicious. So feel free to experiment a bit and make this one your own.

Here's the recipe:

Homemade Alfredo Sauce
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
Dash of pepper
1 teaspoon garlic (optional)
1 cup milk or half and half
1/2 to 3/4 cup grated or shredded parmesan

Melt butter in a saucepan over low heat. Blend in flour, salt, garlic and a dash of pepper. If you're a purist, use white pepper so it won't show. If you're like me and never have white pepper and refuse to buy it just for white sauce, a little black pepper does nicely, too.

Add the milk or half and half all at once. Cook quickly, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and bubbles. I have a heat-resistant spatula that is perfect for this job.

Remove sauce from heat when it bubbles. If the white sauce cooks too long, it becomes to thick and the butter separates out. If that happens, never fear. Just add a little more milk and cook quickly, stirring constantly until the sauce bubbles again.

Add your parmesan cheese to the hot sauce and stir until mixture is smooth. You may need a whisk to smooth things out. Kraft melts down pretty well, but if you are the type who must grate your own fresh parmesan, be sure to grate it as finely as possible, or be prepared to stir a lot. It doesn't always melt really easily. You may need to return your sauce to the heat briefly to get it properly combined. Then taste, taste, taste.

Sometimes I throw in a little more cheese. Sometimes a little more salt or garlic or even a little more milk if things are getting too thick. When you like it, it's done. And it only takes five minutes from start to finish.

This recipe makes about a cup of sauce. You can do the math to make more as needed, just keep in mind that this doesn't freeze particularly well.

Serve over hot pasta. Top with some chicken cooked with some herbs and garlic and a nice loaf of bread and you've got my hubby's favorite meal! It's also delicious with shrimp. 


© Trippin' Mama 2010

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