Intro: Home-made Cajun Alfredo
Simple, easy, and quick. This spicy alfredo sauce can be made while you're boiling the water for the pasta. The upside to this method is you can use skim milk, and lowfat cheese, and make an alfredo that is very diet friendly.
Step 1: Ingredients
Sorry for the resolution. Camera phones, while handy, have a while to go until they can match the quality of picture you'll get from a real camera, and my digicam was stolen last month.
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper, chipotle pepper, paprika (I prefer sweet), crushed red pepper flakes
2 tblsp chopped garlic
2 tblsp butter
2 tblsp flour
2 cups milk
1/2 cup mixed parmesan and romano cheese
Step 2: The Butter
Melt the butter in a big frying pan over medium heat.
Step 3: The Garlic
Add the garlic, and cook it until it's soft and mildly translucent. Should take about 2 minutes.
Step 4: The Roux
Add the flour, and mix until it's fully stirred in. Cook it until it's the color of peanuts. Should only be about 2 minutes. Pic is of the color you want to shoot for. This is called a roux, and is one of the most important aspects of french cooking. The technical term for this butter, flour, milk combination is a bechamel roux, and it's one of the holy trinity of french sauces.
Step 5: Finishing the Roux.
Add the milk. Stir it like crazy until the flour mixture breaks down entirely.
If you were to cut a cup of the milk out of this, you could then add just about anything you wanted to and make it a cream sauce. This is also a typical base of most gravies, if you're an anti-corn starch freak like myself.
Step 6: Cajunize It. Aka BAM!
Add the spices. mix it up, and cook it for 5 minutes, to thicken it a bit.
Yell like the famous cajun chef if it makes you happy.
Step 7: Make It Alfredo
Add the cheese. Stir it up to melt the cheese, this will happen FAST.
I personally prefer a blend of parmesan and romano because parmesan is such a biting cheese, and the mildness of the romano means you'll get a creamier, cheesier sauce without the bitterness of adding too much parmesan.
Some people will call me names and throw things at my head, proclaiming this not a true alfredo. I'd tell them to put down the keyboard and get outside more. Cooking exists to be experimented with.
Step 8: Finish the Sauce
Cook it for about 3 more minutes, until it's a texture you're happy with. It should be creamy, and have a good bit of resistance when you put your fork or whisk through it, but not be a solid mass. If you're cooking this while cooking the pasta, and the pasta's gonna take a bit, remember that sauces (like all food) continue to cook after you remove heat. Leave it a tiny bit thinner than you'd like, and by the time the sauce is done give it a stir and it should be good.
Step 9: The Wrapup
Pour it over pasta. Eat and enjoy. I personally find that this works best with a smaller, hardy pasta, like penne or rotini. I'm using medium shells, because I love the concept of darth macaroni and cheese for grownups. Filled pasta works well, too. Suggested add-ins for this are cubed pre-cooked chicken, and broccoli flourettes chopped into smaller bite-sized pieces. Adding chopped red onions with the garlic is a great idea too. If you do, use about 1/2 of a small red onion. As well, bay scallops, crayfish tails, or shrimp would be a good addition. This is cajun style, and therefore is pretty darn hot. If you're not such a fan of spicy, cut the spices in half (except the paprika).
This serves 2 people and takes about 20 minutes to make, counting prep. It can be done while you're cooking the pasta.
I suppose this bit is obvious, but if you take out everything but the garlic in terms of spices, this is a plain old alfredo.