Lemony Alfredo

After we made homemade pasta, I asked Regina how she wanted it — pomodoro, primevara, or bolognese. No, no, no, she said, Alfredo! I’m not the biggest fan of Fettucine Alfredo. It’s almost always too heavy, too creamy, sitting like glue in my stomach for hours afterward. But apparently Regina has loved it since childhood, having some fond associations in her mind for a simpler time.

Alfredo sauce is basically butter, cream, sometimes a bechamel sauce, and lots of grated parmesan. I thought we could lighten it with a hit of lemon juice to balance out the oppressive fats, and if we kept it basic enough, it would really allow the simple majesty of our homemade pasta to shine.

Handmade, hand-rolled, hand-cut tagliatelle.

We used freshly made tagliatelle, but feel free to use dried fettucine or spaghetti. You’ll need maybe 2/3 a pound of dried pasta, enough to feed two or three people.

You’re gonna need:

2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon flour
3/4 cup milk, warmed in a pot on the stove, but not boiling
salt and pepper
Fresh or dried pasta, about 10 ounces
1/4 cup cream
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/4 cup finely grated parmesan
the juice of half a lemon
2 tablespoons minced parsley

Do this:

In a large saute pan melt the butter over medium heat. Sprinkle the flour over the butter and cook, stirring constantly, until it both foams and turns slightly golden, about five minutes. It will smell a little nutty at this point. Add the warm milk and whisk. Heat, stirring periodically, until the sauce thickens. Taste now and add salt and pepper as needed. The sauce should be saltier than what you want the dish to be, as the sauce will thin out as the pasta is added.

Now boil water for the pasta, add salt, and cook according the package directions. When it’s al dente, add cooked pasta directly from the boiling water into the pan with the sauce.

Add cooked pasta to the bechamel sauce.

Now add the cream, lemon zest, parmesan, parsley, and lemon juice. With tongs toss the pasta until it’s uniformly coated. If the sauce seems too thick on the noode, add a couple tablespoons of hot water from the pasta boiling pot to thin it.

Transfer to a serving platter. Top with more parmesan and minced parsley if you want. And now eat it!

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