Fettuccine Alfredo is a dish that is made very differently depending on who is cooking. Many cooks, and cookbook recipes like to use heavy cream to make an Alfredo sauce. I have always made Alfredo by simply using quality cheese, namely Parmigiano-Reggiano, butter, and the water that the pasta is cooked in, to achieve a creamy Alfredo sauce that isn’t overly thick or rich, and clings perfectly to the pasta. Alfredo is a perfect dish all on its own when you let that amazing Parmigiano- Reggiano be the star.
Heavy cream, plus butter is a wonderful decadence that I like to save for great restaurant meals. The cream version of Fettuccine Alfredo, too me, is something I want on a winter evening, stepping out of the cold and into a beautiful, softly lit, Italian restaurant, with husband in tow, as the first stop on a date night and a waiter standing at attention with a giant pepper grinder. And I would be wearing the most amazing shoes, whilst perusing the desert menu for what comes next.
Coming back to reality, it’s summer time, and there is what seems to be an endless bounty of fresh local, seasonal ingredients, from my own garden and beyond. I have, at this amazing time of year, wild BC sockeye salmon, as well as a garden bursting with fresh peas, and dill. So my Fettuccine Alfredo is going to showcase the beautiful seasonal, freshness of those ingredients, instead of overpowering them with a heavy cream sauce.
This is a simple recipe that takes hardly any time to put together, but tastes like you worked hard. The salmon can grill in the time it takes for the pasta to cook, and for you to shell the peas. (But you can use frozen peas, too)
Be sure not to forget, before draining your pasta, to scoop out a two cup measure of the pasta water. It’s a key ingredient for this dish.
- 500 g dried fettuccine noodles
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 10″ salmon fillet
- salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1 lemon
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 cups grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- 1 cup peas
- 2 tbsp fresh dill, chopped
Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil.
Oil grill and heat to 350° Season salmon fillet with salt and pepper. Zest lemon over the fillet, then slice lemon and arrange lemon slices over the fillet. Grill salmon, skin side down, 20 minutes or until flesh is opaque and can be flaked with a fork. Briefly turn fillet over, flesh side down, so that the salmon and lemons get a quick sear, about 1 minute. Remove salmon to a plate. Remove and discard skin and break salmon up into large chunks.
Add fettuccine noodles and salt to boiling water, and cook until al dente, about 8 minutes. Scoop out 2 cups of the pasta water and reserve. Drain pasta and quickly return to the pot over low heat, along with butter and cheese, and toss until butter is melted. Add pasta water a little at a time, tossing, until a creamy sauce is formed and is the consistency that you like. Remove from heat, and add salmon and peas and toss, adding more pasta water to thin the sauce if desired.
Serve immediately, sprinkled with fresh dill and with the grilled lemon slices for garnish.