A Favorite Pasta Dish Plus A Little Something Extra
My daughter Nell loves fettuccine Alfredo, so when she was browsing the April 2013 edition of Cuisine at Home, she was thrilled to see this recipe for Spring Salmon Pasta. My wife was out for a business meeting for dinner, so Nell decided she would make it all by herself for my youngest daughter and me.
I was in the basement doing a quick workout on the treadmill, so I wasn't available to help except to answer a few of her questions about various ingredients, "Dad, is this a shallot?" That kind of thing.
When I came up from my workout, the meal was cooked, and my daughters had already finished their meals, so I grabbed a bowl and sat down with them while they enjoyed a little ice cream for dessert. The fettuccine Alfredo was perfect, not too heavy like I find a lot of creamy pasta dishes.
The balance between the cream sauce, lemon zest, and capers was right on, so you could taste the individual ingredients, but they all worked together. Nothing but praise for this recipe and how well Nell pulled it together.
I'm a huge fan of Kids Can Cook, so seeing Nell try something new and succeed was great. I think she enjoyed preparing this meal and felt a lot of pride in her accomplishment, so I said, "You have to eat, so teach your kids to cook with you and have a learning experience."
What Is Fettuccine Alfredo?
Fettuccine Alfredo is a pasta dish originating in Rome, Italy. It consists of fettuccine pasta coated in a rich, creamy sauce made from butter, heavy cream, and grated parmesan cheese. Some variations may also include garlic and parsley.
The pasta is typically served hot and garnished with additional parmesan cheese. Fettuccine Alfredo is a popular dish at many Italian restaurants and is often served with grilled chicken or seafood.
What Is the History of Fettuccine Alfredo?
Fettuccine Alfredo is a dish with a long history dating back to the early 20th century. The dish is named after its creator, Alfredo di Lelio, who ran a small trattoria (Italian restaurant) in Rome, Italy.
According to legend, di Lelio created the dish in the 1920s to tempt his wife, Ines, to eat when she was pregnant and experiencing morning sickness. He cooked her a simple dish of fettuccine pasta coated in a creamy sauce made from butter and parmesan cheese. The dish was a hit and became a popular menu item at di Lelio's trattoria.
It eventually gained international fame when it was served to Hollywood stars Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford, who were visiting Rome then. The dish has since become a staple at many Italian restaurants worldwide.
What Is Fettuccine?
The name "fettuccine" comes from the Italian word "fettuccia," which means "little ribbons."
The pasta is typically served with various sauces, including Alfredo sauce, marinara sauce, or meat sauce. It can also be served with vegetables, seafood, or grilled meats. Fettuccine is often used in dishes such as fettuccine Alfredo, fettuccine carbonara, and fettuccine alla vodka.
What Optional Ingredients Can You Add?
Many ingredients can be added to Fettuccine Alfredo instead of salmon to add flavor and texture. Some standard options include:
- Grilled or sautéed chicken, shrimp, or other seafood
- Vegetables such as steamed broccoli, roasted red peppers, or sautéed mushrooms
- Fresh herbs such as parsley, basil, or thyme
- Garlic or onion, finely minced and sautéed in butter before adding to the sauce
- Red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper for a spicy kick
- A splash of white wine or chicken broth adds depth of flavor to the sauce
- Sun-dried tomatoes or cherry tomatoes halved and added to the sauce
- For added texture and flavor, a dollop of pesto or a sprinkle of chopped nuts, such as pine nuts or walnuts.
Remember that it is best to add these ingredients to the sauce before tossing it with the pasta to fully incorporate the flavors into the dish.
Fettuccine Alfredo with Salmon
- 1 pound salmon fillet with skin on
- salt & pepper to taste
- 8 ounces fettuccine
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon shallots minced
- ½ cup heavy cream
- ¾ cup pecorino cheese grated
- 2 tablespoons capers I'm sure my daughter added more. She loves capers!
- 2 tablespoons fresh chives minced
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest minced
- Start by preheating the oven to 400ºF and bringing a large pot of salted water to a boil while you prep the ingredients.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil. It makes cleaning up a little easier.
- Season the salmon with salt and pepper and place on the baking sheet, skin side down.1 pound salmon fillet, salt & pepper
- Roast for about 15 minutes until cooked through. Let it cool off enough to remove the skin without burning your fingers, and then break it into small pieces.
- Cook the pasta using the cooking times on the package but check before it is scheduled to be done. You don't want to overcook the pasta. Be sure to reserve about ½ cup of the pasta water before draining it for the sauce.8 ounces fettuccine
To Make the Sauce
- Melt the butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook for a couple of minutes.4 tablespoons unsalted butter, 1 tablespoon shallots
- Add the cream, then the reserved pasta water, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. The cream will produce large bubbles, and that's OK. Continue cooking until the sauce starts to thicken. This should take 4 - 5 minutes.½ cup heavy cream
Finish the Dish
- Add the fettuccine to the sauté pan and then add the pecorino cheese. Toss the pasta with the sauce to coat it.¾ cup pecorino cheese
- Remove the pan from the heat and add the capers, chives, zest, and salmon. Carefully stir to combine, careful not to break up the salmon into tiny pieces.2 tablespoons capers, 2 tablespoons fresh chives, 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- Taste and adjust seasonings with salt and pepper to taste.salt & pepper