A lighter Alfredo

A lighter Alfredo

A lighter Alfredo

 

This spaghetti uses chicken broth instead of the proverbial “heart attack on a plate” that conventional alfredo sauce kindly provides.  This recipe is adapted from Lydia Bastianich.  She does not bind the sauce with flour as I do, and I find it necessary so that when the eggs are added, they have something to cling to, thereby avoiding curdling. 

6 slices of bacon

4 cups of chicken broth

1 1/2 cups of cooked and chopped chicken breast (1/4 inch dice is fine)

1 pound spaghetti/fettucini

2 large eggs

2 tablespoons light cream

3 tablespoons of wondra flour

1/4 cup of peas

Salt and Pepper

3/4 cup grated parmesan

Preheat oven to 400.  In a Large oven proof Dutch oven (4-5 quart), place the bacon.  Put into the oven until the bacon is crisp. We do this in the actual pan that we are going to make the sauce in so that the residual bacon flavor is there. Remove from oven and drain bacon on paper towels.  Chop finely. Let pan cool and drain all of the fat away.  Blot pan with paper towels. Discard paper towels!

Place pan on medium heat and add the chicken broth, the peas and the three tablespoons of WONDRA flour.  Regular flour will work if you first dilute it in a few tablespoons of water and then add. Wondra simply stirs right in as you all know!  Simmer this mixture for a few minutes (add some salt and pepper) while you boil the pasta in a large pot of salted water. 

Beat the eggs in a small bowl and add the cream, and a good dosage of salt and pepper.  When the pasta is ready, drain it.  Add the pasta to the hot sauce and take the entire pot off the heat.  Slowly drop in the eggs while tossing.  It will look soupy at this point but do not worry it will firm up considerably. Add the chicken, the bacon and the cheese.  Taste the sauce and reseason with salt and pepper. 

Cover for a minute or two while the sauce binds and thickens.  Toss again and serve with additional parmesan cheese.

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Spaghetti sauce

The line from Goodfellas goes like this.  “Did you put in the pork?”   And the response?  “Well, that’s the flava….”  Pork is an essential ingredient in my Sunday sauce.  I say Sunday sauce (or gravy for those of you from Hoboken), because this type of a rich Bolognese type sauce was typically prepared on a Sunday, with the entire clan clustered around the table reaching for the meat, which was always served on the side. 

 

With various meats forming the base of it, this rich American version of an Italian classic has its roots in Southern Italy. It has as many variations as there are Italian nonnas. I’ve heard of everything from beef oxtails to pork ribs to pepperoni to even chicken wings used to create this oh so comforting food.

 

I used to fantasize about making this sauce and mistakenly thought that the longer the simmering process, the richer the sauce.  To an extent that is true, because the sauce continues to concentrate as it cooks.  But one need not invest the better part of a Sunday to create what I think is a rich, complex and delicious sauce. I’ve added sausage and meatballs as you can see, but the sauce on its own is simple and   delicious.  Enjoy.

 

 

 

 

Sunday Spaghetti Sauce

 

Olive oil

1.5 pounds of pork spare ribs, cut into two to three rib portions

1 medium onion chopped finely

3 cloves of garlic

1 tablespoon tomato paste

½ cup red wine

3 large cans of tomatoes packed in tomato puree, run through a food mill (I prefer Cento brand–San Marzano tomatoes)

1 cup of water

 

Preheat oven to 450F.  In a large Dutch oven, place three tablespoons of olive oil and the ribs, turning to coat.  Place in the oven and roast for about 45 minutes until brown.  Take out of the oven and remove the ribs to a separate plate.  Set aside.  After allowing the pan to cool, blot up the liquid in the bottom of the pan with paper towels. 

 

Place the pan on the stove and add two or three tablespoons of olive oil. Over medium heat, sauté the onions until soft and translucent, add the garlic and turn the heat down to low.  Continue stirring and add the tomato paste, frying the tomato paste for a minute or so.  Add the red wine and simmer for two to three minutes to burn off the alcohol. 

 

Add the tomato puree and the water, season with salt and pepper and return the ribs to the pot.  Simmer over low heat until the ribs are falling off the bone, about two hours.  Except for the occasional stir, the pot, over LOW heat, can remain unattended. 

 

Remove the pork ribs from the pot and allow to cool.  Shred the pork meat and measure out 1 ½ cups.  Return the pork meat to the pot, and simmer for 5 minutes.  Turn off heat.  Serve over pasta of your choice with freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano.