Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Alfredo Sauce with Italian Chicken Strips

     Italian cuisine is one of my favorites. I'm just a noodle girl. I like them in soups, under sauces or with just plain butter. If you add some garlic to the butter you're heading into Italian food. Then throw in some veggies, meats and herbs like oregano and basil, and you'll be right there.
    One of my favorite Italian sauces is Alfredo. It's smooth cheesy cream sauce that coats pasta perfectly. It's not often that I serve the sauce with noodles alone. Usually I throw in chunks of chicken and broccoli. This time I tried it as I'd seen in a local cafe, with marinated chicken strips served to the side. Similar idea, different presentation, same great flavors. Italian at home. 

Alfredo Sauce
1 pint heavy cream or half n half
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Freshly cracked black pepper
sprinkle of parsley for color (about 1/2 tsp.)
1/2 lb. pasta (fettuccine, penne or linguine) something a little thick and fat
*1 lb. cooked meat, chicken, ham, shrimp or crab. (see below)

In a large pot, cook pasta in plenty of boiling salted water for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat cream over medium-low heat in a 2 qt. sauce pan. Add butter and stir to melt and combine.

Drain pasta, reserving some pasta water in a cup in case sauce needs thinning.

Add cheese and stir continuously. Sprinkle black pepper. Reduce heat to low or off, stirring often. If too thick, add a little reserved pasta water.

Pour sauce over pasta and gently toss the noodles to coat.
Put on serving plate. Sprinkle with parsley.

 This can be served as a side dish or served with meats such as chicken,* shrimp, crab or ham.

 Serve immediately. Serves 4.

* Italian Chicken Strips
Marinate 1 lb. chicken tenders in 1/4 cup Italian dressing (1 hour to overnight).

Add 1 tsp. olive oil to medium skillet. Turn heat to medium and when hot, add chicken. Cook, slightly covered, 20 minutes, until chicken is cooked through and juices are clear.

Cut in 2 inch chunks and place on pasta before adding sauce. Serve with a sprinkle of parsley.

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