Roasted Garlic Alfredo

In the magical world of food, the littlest tweak can take an ingredient from good to amazing. With a little bit of heat, butter goes from boring and pale to golden brown with deep, nutty flavor. A drizzle of olive oil, a sprinkle of salt, and a quick roast in the oven turns veggies from limp and plain to tender and flavorful. Caramelizing raw onions morphs them into sweet, buttery, onion gold. When it comes to the magic of cooking, wonders never cease. With just a little bit of love, we can take something we like and transform it into something we love.

One beautiful example of this is roasted garlic. We all like garlic, and that’s why we love roasted garlic. It’s so sweet and delicious, with an intoxicating flavor that permeates through whatever food is lucky enough to be graced by its presence. Roasted garlic has that familiar flavor you love plus a layer of sweet depth that only roasting it can give. There is no better way to describe it than beautiful.

I’ve been racking my brain to discover the perfect way to utilize the potent powers of roasted garlic. When a strong craving for Fettuccine Alfredo hit me, the answer became obvious: Roasted Garlic Alfredo. I love, love, love traditional Alfredo sauce, and I make a pretty mean Alfredo, if I may be so bold as to say so. The only way it could possibly be better is with some wonderful roasted garlic.

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Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese: My Favorite

Every Fall, I patiently await the arrival of two things: pumpkin & butternut squash. I’ve been going pretty pumpkin-happy lately, but good ol’ butternut squash has been getting the cold shoulder. I knew it was time to turn my attention toward this slightly sweet squash. And what better way to do that than with one of my all-time favorite recipes?

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Harvest Gnocchi w/ Squash & Kale

Some recipes you know are going to be amazing before the fork ever reaches your mouth. You spot it online or in a cookbook or, in my case, the latest issue of The Food Network Magazine, and you think, “That’s going to be so good!” Well,I’ve got to be honest, I didn’t feel that way when I first saw this this Gnocchi w/ Butternut Squash & Kale. It looked good, don’t get me wrong, but I didn’t figure it’d be anything special. I still went ahead and bookmarked it because it was surprisingly healthy and sang of Fall. Did I think it would “wow” me? Not really. Well, allow me to put my foot in my mouth because this dish wowed me six ways to Sunday.

This Gnocchi with Butternut Squash and Kale sang a beautiful harmony of deliciousness. The note I really heard was “flavor.” So much flavor! I never would’ve expected it. The butternut squash’s slightly sweet taste spreads itself out onto the kale and the gnocchi while all three elements act as sponges for the beautiful butter and the dynamic vegetable broth. Right there, we’re talking flavor power. But it doesn’t stop. With every bite, fresh garlic sauteed in the butter says, “Hello, I’m garlic. I’m here and I’m awesome.” Illusive red pepper flakes hang out in the background, only to give you a kick in the butt at the end of every mouthful. Last but never least, salty parmesan lends a hand to bind all of the flavors together and add that cheesy bite you’ve got to have. It’s just the right amount of cheese, not overboard, but definitely present. With all of these delicious flavors working together, I went from “I’m sitting down to a nice, warm Fall dinner,” to “Hello, I’m awake and so are all of my tastebuds.”

This is a simple dish, but it’s incredible. It’s buttery, hearty, garlicky, cheesy, and it’s got flavors coming at you in all directions. You get a wonderful textural circus too with the kale that’s still got a bit of bite left in it, the gooey parmesan cheese, the tender butternut squash, the soft little gnocchis, and the crunch of  walnuts. Your mouth will be so delightfully entertained by this dish. It’s a wake-up call to your tastebuds.

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Frittata Pizza Dippers

Frittata fans, boy have I got something for you.

For those of you who aren’t avid frittata followers, a frittata is kind of like  a giant omelet stuffed with all kinds of good stuff. There in lies the problem with frittatas: their behemoth size. If you’re making one for your family or a some guests, they’re awesome. But what if you’re just cooking for two or for yourself? What if you don’t want to wait forever while it bakes in the oven? How does one get their frittata fix then?

Simple. You make mini frittatas so portion control is is easy as cake. Eat as many or as few as you want. AND you make those eggy babies in a Babycakes maker, not only to achieve their adorable miniature size, but also so they cook up in a mere eight minutes. That’s some easy and eggcellent cooking (sorry, I had to).

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Fettuccine Alfredo

Some dishes are classics. You’ve had them a million times, a million different ways, and you probably have your preferred version. They’re the kind of foods you don’t mess with. You stick to what’s good because, after all, you shouldn’t fix what isn’t broken, right?

What you can do, however, is perfect something. And that’s exactly what I’ve been trying to do with my Alfredo sauce for years. Fettuccine Alfredo is one of the first dishes I ever made and it is still a go-to favorite. I learned a basic recipe from my mother that I’ve tweaked over time. She used to make Fettuccine Alfredo all the time when I was younger. It was heaven to me. I would request it on my birthday and, sometimes, she’d serve it with chicken, bacon, or broccoli. To this day, it is still one of my absolute favorite foods. Every time I pop into an Olive Garden, I’ve got to have it (no matter how many times I tell myself I’m going to try something new).

Fettuccine Alfredo is definitely a special treat. It’s so indulgent and decadent with a simple perfection that sets it apart from your average pasta dish. Although the recipe is quite basic, it does call for a tricky balancing act when creating the sauce. You need the perfect amount of cheese to achieve just the right thickness and flavor. I’ve had many failed Fettuccine Alfredo attempts. I make it too thick, the sauce separates when I add the pasta, or it’s thin and runny. I think I’ve finally achieved my ideal Alfredo sauce. And I’m sorry, Olive Garden, but your version takes 2nd place to mine. Maybe I could teach you a thing or two? Read the rest of this entry »