Fettuccine Alfredo has always been my favorite pasta dish. I have distinct memories of ordering it every time we went out for Italian food. I loved (and love) the creamy richness of the sauce in all its simple glory. Sometimes the richness is a little too much for me, so when I’m craving fettuccine alfredo without the stomach ache I make a lighter version. (Lighter as in I omit the cream and keep the copious amounts of butter and parmesan) I love to top it with grilled chicken simply rubbed with Cajun seasoning for a spicy flair. This fettuccine could just as easily be topped with grilled vegetables, steamed broccoli, or shrimp. Make sure to get a good wedge of Parmigiano Reggiano from the cheese section or a cheese shop. Good parmesan makes a huge difference since that is where most of the flavor will be coming from, and besides, once you taste the difference you will never go back to the pre-shredded stuff.
To serve 4, you will need:
1 lb of chicken tenderloins
1 pound egg fettuccine
½ cup unsalted butter cut into pieces
¼ cup (or to taste) Parmigiano Reggiano, grated
salt & pepper
Put a large pot of water on to boil and add about 2 tablespoons of salt.
Preheat grill on medium heat for 5 minutes. Sprinkle chicken cutlets with the Cajun seasoning until just coated on all sides. Grill the chicken on medium heat 5-7 minutes per side or until cooked through. Set aside to rest for 5 minutes and then slice.
Cook the fettuccine according to package directions until tender but al dente. Drain the pasta, reserving some of the water, and place in a large heated bowl. Toss pasta with the butter pieces and Parmigiano Reggiano adding a splash of reserved pasta water only if necessary to loosen the mixture. (you hardly ever need to do this step if you drain the pasta very quickly and dump it into the bowl before every last bit of water drains out.) Season with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste and top with the sliced chicken and a fresh grating of Parmesan.