Cream and butter sauce


Cream and butter sauce (over tortellini) | Photo by Brave New Food

Let’s see. How can I describe this drool-inducing sauce? It’s kind of like if salted butter and heavy cream hooked up one night and made the most delicious baby ever.

Those of you (see: me) who have long given up on your new year’s resolutions to lose that pesky “who-cares-if-it’s-eight-pounds-of-chocoloate-it’s-xmas” holiday weight will love this sauce.

This is the sauce that has become known to diners throughout the world as all’Alfredo, after the Roman restaurateur who popularized it. If a fat, fresh white truffle should come your way, one of the best uses for it is to shave it over pasta tossed with Alfredo’s sauce. – Marcella Hazan, Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking.

I’ll be totally honest, I wasn’t too sure what a “fat, fresh white truffle” was until googling it five seconds ago. (Note: truffles are a variety of fleshy, edible fungi that grow underground on or near the roots of trees and are considered a delicacy.)

Hmmm, maybe we’re getting ahead of ourselves here. We are newbies, after all. Back to the glory that is cream and butter …

What you’ll need:

For 4 to 6 servings

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons quality butter
  • 8- 16 ounces choice of pasta (I like to use a cheese tortellini or a fettuccine)
  • 2/3 cup freshly grated parmigiano-regggiano cheese, plus additional cheese at the table
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • a pinch of ground nutmeg

Choose a sturdy skillet big enough for tossing and serving the pasta in later. Put in 2/3 or the heavy cream and all the butter, turn on the heat to medium, and cook for less than a minute, just until the cream and butter have thickened. It should look like this:


Combination of cream and butter | Photo by Brave New Food

Turn off the heat.

Cook the pasta, draining it while it is still very firm and even slightly underdone, a degree or so firmer than al dente (Note: Al dente refers to the desired texture of cooked pasta in Italian cooking. It literally means “to the tooth.” When the pasta is cooked al dente, there should be a slight resistance in the center when the pasta is chewed.)

Transfer the drained pasta to the pan containing the butter and cream, turn on the heat to low, and toss the pasta thoroughly, bringing it up and around from the bottom, coating all the strands with the cream and butter sauce.

Add remaining 1/3 cup of cream, the 2/3 cup of grated parmesan, a pinch of salt, a few grindings of pepper, and a small pinch of nutmeg.

Toss again briefly until the pasta is well coated. Serve immediately from the pan, with additional parmesan on the side.

This goes well with a nice garden or caesar salad and your favorite garlic knots or bread.


[Source: The Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan]


3 Responses to Cream and butter sauce

  1. etprovost says:

    Oh my GOD I can’t wait to make this. It’s 9:24 p.m. and I have an hour of lab left and STILL I want to go home and make this straight away.

  2. Linda Stanley says:

    I love fettuccine alfredo and this sounds sooooo good!

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