Friday, January 7, 2011

Roasted Garlic Fettucine Alfredo

Every year around Thanksgiving I make a list of all of my favorite Christmas movies so that I can space them out evenly through the season. White Christmas, The Family Man, Love Actually (of course), and--at Rich’s insistence--Die Hard. (He cites the line, “Now I have a machine gun, ho, ho, ho!” as advent enough.) One of my absolute favorites is The Holiday. The story. The characters. The scenery. On Christmas Eve as both women are deep in emotional metamorphosis, they indulge in fettuccine. So this year as I had nowhere to go on Christmas and no particular interest in spending hours in the kitchen whipping up a traditional porkcentric feast (I had just finished the cookbook earlier in the week) I settled on some Christmas fettuccine. Like the movie, there’s nothing particularly Christmassy about the pasta, so you can serve it whenever you like. But I think it’s perfect for dark winter evenings when you need something completely warm and comforting, like a cashmere throw, but much tastier.  

Roasted Garlic Fettuccine Alfredo
Serves 4

Olive oil
1 head garlic
16 ounces chicken breast, cut into 2”x1/2” pieces
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1/3 cup heavy cream
2 cups milk
1 cup freshly grated parmesan
1 LB fresh pasta dough
4 slices prosciutto
¼ cup fresh Italian parsley

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the garlic on a square of foil, snip off the top with kitchen shears and drizzle with about 1-2 tablespoons olive oil. Wrap loosely in the foil and bake for 30-40 minutes. Remove from the oven, unwrap and allow to cool.

While the garlic cooks, heat 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil in a sauté pan. Sear the chicken breast on all sides and allow to cook until just cooked through. Remove from heat.

Lay the prosciutto onto a baking sheet and cook for 8-10 minutes until it is crisp. Allow to cool, then crumble into a ramekin.

As soon as the garlic is cool enough to handle, squeeze each clove out into a small bowl. Mash with the back of a form until it forms a thick paste. Whisk in 2 tablespoons of the heavy cream to create a more blendable consistency.

Cook the pasta in salted, boiling water until al dente.
In a separate pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour until a paste forms. Add the cream, milk and roasted garlic mixture and whisk constantly until the sauce thickens. Remove from heat, allow to cool momentarily, then stir in the parmesan until melted. Add the cooked chicken.

Divide the pasta between four bowls. Ladle the alfredo sauce over each , ensuring each person gets several pieces of chicken. Top with parsley and crumbled prosciutto.

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