Dave’s cousin Megan just returned from a few months studying in Spain. One of the dishes that her house mother made for her was fettucini alfredo…with raisin! I am a raisin fan anyway, and the combination of sweet with savory (oooh, and melty cheesy…) was too much to resist trying on my own. I used spaghetti, which I had on hand, and turned to Mark Bittman for some alfredo guidance. His recipe was dead on. A simple cheese, cream and egg mixture tossed with the hot pasta and a little butter, rather than the typical thick, heavy alfredo sauce. When the pasta was coated with the alfredo, I tossed in a handful of raisin and ground in some fresh nutmeg, because something about the cheese and fruit reminded me of fondue. And the result was a light but creamy, delicately savory with surprising bites of sweetness when the fork gets lucky with a raisin. With the hint of nutmeg, it also feels like a festive, holiday meal that will feed and please a whole crowd.
All in all I am a true believer (and think I should head to Spain soon to compare…you know, strictly research…)
Spanish Alfredo with Raisin and Nutmeg
(adapted from Mark Bittman)
1 pound pasta
1 cup grated fresh parmesan
1/2 cup cream
2 tablespoons melted butter
1/3 cup raisins
freshly ground salt, pepper and nutmeg
Cook pasta in boiling water with a pinch of salt and drizzle of olive oil to al dente, reserve one cup of the hot pasta water when draining. Return pasta to warm pot. While pasta is boiling , warm a bowl with hot water. In it, gently beat two eggs, then add parmesan and cream. Pour cream mixture over pasta in pot and toss quickly, adding reserved water to desired texture. The mixture will coat the noodles with wonderful alfredo! When evenly coated, add the raisins and 1/4 teaspoon fresh nutmeg. Grind salt and pepper to taste, drizzle with melted butter and serve immediately.
Ooh. You’re going to love this!
Have a wonderful weekend!