What is your favorite food?

When it comes to foods you must know that one of my favorite is Italian; traditional or adopted American dishes will do. I have worked in several Italian restaurants in Oregon and Nebraska so I have developed a real love for classical as well as American-Italian dishes. The people are also awesome! I know this because I have met many Italians who frequented the establishments where I have worked. If Italians feel you are a good cook and have real passion for their culture and food, they will show you appreciation. They will also let you know where you could stand to make improvements if a meal doesn’t meet a certain standard.

Common Threads – I believe there are deep similarities shared by people from Italy and people in America who have southern roots. Both view the process of cooking as highly important; gathering together with friends and family to share huge dinners occurs frequently and passing on traditional recipes to keep them alive from generation to generation is paramount. Did you know that many people consider some Italian foods to be comfort food, the same way it is viewed in the American South? Americans love Italian food! So much so they have developed there own versions of pasta dishes. How many variations have you come up with personally that are as far away from the original recipes as Italy is from America?

Simple, affordable and good for you – When you think about it, pasta really is versatile and inexpensive. If you don’t have a lot of money at the time or need to feed a large family, it is an affordable way to go? If time is of the essence, a quick and easy pasta dish will still provide nutrition and keep you on the move! Don’t forget to experiment with different varieties like wheat and bulgur wheat. If you need help creating, there are thousands of books and websites to get you started and keep you cooking Italian!

I love to experiment with different pasta dishes and here is one I created the other day that was awesome!

Chicken Fettuccine photoshopped

Cajun Chicken Fettuccini w/ Roma and Shiitake

Yields 6 servings

Serves four to Six (4-6)

Prep Time: 20-25 min

Cook Time: 30 Min

  • 1 pound(s) chicken tenders, medium diced
  • 1 tablespoon(s) olive oil
  • 2 teaspoon(s) Cajun seasoning
  • 2 roma tomatoes, small diced
  • 2 shallots or 1 medium yellow onion, minced
  • 6 to 8 shiitake mushrooms, small diced
  • 4 or 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, minced (optional)
  • 1 1/2 cup(s) heavy or whipping cream
  • 1 cup(s) shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1 pound(s) fettuccine
  • salt (to taste)
  • cracked black pepper (to taste)

Directions

1. Heat large saucepot to boiling over high heat, adding a teaspoon of salt and a teaspoon of oil. Add pasta and cook.

2. Meanwhile, in a medium or large skillet, heat 2 teaspoons oil over medium-high heat until hot. Add chicken and Cajun seasoning and cook until chicken just loses its pink color throughout, stirring frequently. Transfer chicken to dish and hold.

3. In same skillet, add onion, jalapeno, and shiitake; stir occasionally until onion is soft. Add garlic and tomato and continue to stir for additional 30 seconds.

4. Add cream and bring to medium-high heat stirring to incorporate all ingredients. When the sauce begins to bubble, reduce heat to medium-low and add cheese, stir until desired thickness and reduce heat to low-simmer.

5. Drain fettuccine into strainer or colander when pasta reaches desired level of doneness. Return fettuccine to saucepot add sauce and cover all pasta evenly, remove saucepot from heat; plate serve and enjoy!

Did You Know?

Fact 1: Fettuccine all’Alfredo was created in 1914 by Alfredo di Lelio, a cook with his own restaurant in Italy. He was simply trying to prepare something satisfying for his pregnant wife who was having trouble keeping down food. Using sheer imagination Alfredo’s creation consisted of egg, parmigiano cheese and butter poured over fettuccine; this satisfied his wife very much.

Fact 2: The original recipe was very, very simple. Here is how Waverly sums it up in his book, The Food of Italy… “FETTUCCINE AL BURRO is associated in every tourist’s mind with Rome, possibly because the original Alfredo succeeded in making its serving a spectacle reminiscent of grand opera. It is the same ribbon shaped egg pasta that is called tagliatelle in Bologna; but the al burro preparation is very Roman indeed in its rich simplicity. Nothing is added to the pasta except grated cheese and butter – lots of butter”.

Fact 3: Traditional pasta al burro has about 350 calories and 6 grams of fat per serving.

Fact 4: Several actors such as Tyrone Power, Ava Gardner, Richard Burton, Liz Taylor and Sophia Loren have been photographed enjoying Fettuccine all’Alfredo making Alfredo’s restaurant famous all over the world.

Fact 5: Alfredo relocated to New York and is credited for bringing the Fettuccine Alfredo pasta dish to America; Americans are credited for developing the sauce by adding heavy or whipping cream or milk and a roux to parmesan and butter.

 original-fettucine-alfredo

 ORIGINAL FETTUCCINE ALFREDO RECIPE
Quantity:
3 or 4 main course plates; 6 to 8 appetizers

Ingredients:

•    1 lb best quality dried or fresh fettuccine or tagliatelle
•    8 oz very good butter (2 sticks), or 6 oz if using fresh pasta
•    8 oz parmigiana reggiano (parmesan) cheese, or 6 oz if using fresh pasta
•    1-1/2 tablespoons table salt per gallon of pasta water
•    Pepper grinder (white pepper is truer, but black pepper is fine)

Traditional pasta al burro has about 350 calories and 6 grams of fat per serving.

RESOURCES

MSNBC – The Original Fettucine Alfredo

http://iml.jou.ufl.edu/projects/fall10/hoppner_v/history.html – Internet

Website

http://www.annamariavolpi.com/pasta_alfredo.html – Internet website

Fettuccine Alfredo – The Real Way

Posted on | February 21, 2010 |

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