Never knock a beige dinner – it may not be pretty but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t taste great. We had Colu Henry’s Alfredo with mashed parsnips.
I want to start with the parsnips because they are an odd choice for the American dinner plate. I have wanted to try parsnips since I watched some series on British food during WWII. They look like carrots but are rather white. The funny thing is after boiling them, the peels turned a kind of orange. They taste a bit like carrots. These were late season parsnips so they were more carrot-y and a little fibrous. But they were so tasty. Because they were not the healthiest looking vegetables, I cut them up into 1 inch pieces and boiled them. Then I took the masher to them. Served with a touch of salt. Oh goodness, I want more. Not sure we’ll find any until next winter since we don’t have the best access to produce. I’m thinking early ones would be awesome roasted with some olive oil and salt. Or mashed with a little sugar and cinnamon (if later in the season). I seriously think they need an American revival.
Now onto the Alfredo. I made 2 pounds of penne which came out a little broken and not beautiful but no real problem there. I ended up doubling the sauce recipe. I will tell you this is not for the fat conscious. And don’t cheat. This was so good and so simple. It takes time but worth it.
I had no problem getting my butter to incorporate into the pasta water (save 1 1/2 cups pasta water for each “batch” and whisk in 1 stick butter cut into a few pieces). The whisking was a little on the boring side but I did double the recipe which meant twice the time. As for the parmesan, I don’t know if it’s because I used pre-shredded or cheap parmesan but it didn’t melt into a nice creamy sauce. That was not a problem. We were practically digging for those clumps of gooey cheese. We served with more cheese.
I highly recommend trying this alfredo dish. Do not let the fanciness of the dish scare you. It’s simple, tasty and not overly difficult to make. It takes a little patience (not hours I promise you) and a lot of cheese.