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Old 03-08-2011, 07:45 PM   #1
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Alfredo Sauce Question

why do Alfredo recipes ask for nutmeg? I guess I've just never really tasted nutmeg in Alfredo and if there is, I guess it's not very much. I have concocted my own Alfredo sauce and it tastes fine, but now i'm wondering if i'm missing something??? Do you think nutmeg is a necessity or adds to the Alfredo sauce in a positive way?
:)
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Old 03-08-2011, 08:02 PM   #2
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My recipe says:

Authentic Alfredo Sauce

4 Tbs butter
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup grated Parmesan (Parmigiano Reggiano)
Dash of nutmeg (the secret to good Alfredo Sauce)

Melt the butter over a low heat in a pan that will be large enough to hold the pasta at the end of the cooking. Do not let it boil, just melted and warm is fine.
Slowly add the cream and stir with a spoon until it is hot but not boiling and has reduced slightly.
Now add the Parmesan cheese a little at a time and stir until it is all melted. The sauce may take quite a while to thicken, keep stirring and don't let it boil. Add seasonings according to your taste. If the Parmesan is grated too course it will not melt in well. Grate the cheese as fine as possible for best results. The sauce can take a long time to reduce.
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Old 03-08-2011, 08:15 PM   #3
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Nutmeg is often an addition to dairy based sauces.

I use the same recipe as Selkie with a little different process.
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Old 03-08-2011, 08:17 PM   #4
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I have never used nutmeg in mine.

Might give it a try at some point.
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Old 03-08-2011, 08:26 PM   #5
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I love nutmeg it gives Alfredo it's sprcial quality. but remember nutmeg is a
strong tasting herb and can overpower your sauce. just a pinch of fresh grated nutmeg is all you need. I hope you will give it a try the nuts come in a jar and can be grated on a rasp.
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Old 03-08-2011, 08:30 PM   #6
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i will try it tonight. i don't have fresh nutmeg, since i hardly use it, but i will definitely try a dash/pinch.
Thanks everyone!!
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Old 03-08-2011, 09:53 PM   #7
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I am part of nutmeg's cheering section. Get a whole one and keep it handy. A quick grate over dairy dishes, into spinach, or when adding vanilla can't be detected as nutmeg, but does some magic to enhance the other flavors.
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Old 03-08-2011, 10:25 PM   #8
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i tried it and it was good! definitely a good addition! i will definitely be using it more often!
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Old 03-08-2011, 10:38 PM   #9
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IMO it is amazing what nutmeg does for spinach. I don't get to make alfredo because dh hates it but I would definately put it in.
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Old 03-09-2011, 12:15 AM   #10
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I personally detest nutmeg in alfredo sauce, but it is a very traditional seasoning.

I get MAD if i taste it in Mac and cheese...
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Old 03-09-2011, 06:31 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jacky77 View Post
i will try it tonight. i don't have fresh nutmeg, since i hardly use it, but i will definitely try a dash/pinch.
Thanks everyone!!
A whole nutmeg will keep the flavor longer than the ground stuff because you are not releasing the essential oils and flavors until you grate it. If you don't use it that often then get whole.
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Old 03-09-2011, 07:32 AM   #12
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For mine I brown the butter and use a tiny bit of fresh nutmeg.
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Old 03-09-2011, 08:05 AM   #13
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I love nutmeg in desserts but not in my alfredo sauce, a friend also puts in it her stuff shells, lasanga, and i can pick it up right away , - She calls it a Italian thing. My opinion --> not a good addition but everyone has different taste.
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Old 03-09-2011, 08:59 AM   #14
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Nutmeg is a traditional ingredient in Italian Besciamella - the traditional layer of "white" in a lasagna that most Americans use ricotta for. I can easily see how nutmeg could migrate to Alfredo dishes.

I like a very traditional Italian variant of "Alfredo" using dried spaghetti instead of fettucini, and lot's of black pepper.

For my "Alfredo" I don't use cream. I melt a good hunk of butter in a pan with a cloves worth of garlic paste - cooking until the water in the butter evaporates but the butter has yet to brown. Then I add a couple cups of reserved pasta water, and bring it to a boil over medium-high heat. To this I add a bunch of good Parmesan and whisk continuously. I add my slightly undercooked pasta to this thin sauce to finish cooking (making sure to toss and stir constantly to keep the sauce from sticking to the bottom of the pan). As the pasta absorbs more liquid and more liquid evaporates, a wonderful silken sauce consistency develops. I finish it with fine sea salt and lot's of freshly ground black pepper (tossing again), then some freshly grated parmesan on top. It's almost a cross between the flavors/aromas/textures of Alfredo and Carbonara.
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Old 03-09-2011, 09:12 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nicholas Mosher View Post
Nutmeg is a traditional ingredient in Italian Besciamella - the traditional layer of "white" in a lasagna that most Americans use ricotta for. I can easily see how nutmeg could migrate to Alfredo dishes.

I like a very traditional Italian variant of "Alfredo" using dried spaghetti instead of fettucini, and lot's of black pepper.

For my "Alfredo" I don't use cream. I melt a good hunk of butter in a pan with a cloves worth of garlic paste - cooking until the water in the butter evaporates but the butter has yet to brown. Then I add a couple cups of reserved pasta water, and bring it to a boil over medium-high heat. To this I add a bunch of good Parmesan and whisk continuously. I add my slightly undercooked pasta to this thin sauce to finish cooking (making sure to toss and stir constantly to keep the sauce from sticking to the bottom of the pan). As the pasta absorbs more liquid and more liquid evaporates, a wonderful silken sauce consistency develops. I finish it with fine sea salt and lot's of freshly ground black pepper (tossing again), then some freshly grated parmesan on top. It's almost a cross between the flavors/aromas/textures of Alfredo and Carbonara.

Sounds more like a version of Cacio e Pepe than of Alfredo.
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Old 03-09-2011, 09:34 AM   #16
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Yup, thats the dish!

One of the first dishes I cooked when I was little (and allowed to use the stove) was noodles tossed with butter, black pepper, and Parmesan. I loved the flavors and aromas (superior to anything in a box/bag), but it always lacked the sauce consistency of the Lipton/Knorr noodles. So watching the process of making those noodles in sauce that came in the envelopes, I started fooling around with cooking the noodles with the sauce towards the end - and behold the same sort of sauce would form that I was looking for! Later on I saw how chefs at good restaurants prepared pasta dishes like this using reserved pasta water as the sauce base, and incorporated it into my techniques. Using the pasta water actually adds an element that many people look for but can't identify in a great plate of restaurant pasta... the flavor of the pasta!

Minus the garlic (and with Pecorino Romano in place of the Parmesan), the dish I posted above is indeed Cacio e Pepe.

My wife and I were watching some Anthony Bourdain episodes on NetFlix the other day, and a fancy-pants version of this dish was served in the Rome episoide in a bowl made from Frico draped over a bowl.

Check it out! (Skip to 2:40 for the pasta)

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Old 03-09-2011, 09:40 AM   #17
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I saw that episode. I think it was his 100th. Lots of good stuff in there.
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Old 03-09-2011, 03:02 PM   #18
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I don't use nutmeg, unless I am making seafood alfredo. I also use it in Seafood Newburg. Only with seafood, I guess. Other than that, no nutmeg for this nut, Meg....
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Old 03-09-2011, 05:14 PM   #19
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i didn't put a lot of nutmeg in..just a dash, not too strong, but there was a slight difference in flavor but not too much. I liked it. hmm, i'll try that one night Nick! thanks!
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Old 03-09-2011, 05:51 PM   #20
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Try a pinch of nutmeg with mushrooms....
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