When you sit down to consume this seafood fettuccine Alfredo , it’s best to plan ahead. Start by planning to be hungry and then choose an evening when you’ll have time for a nap afterwards.
There are all sorts of ways to make this a lighter meal (you can lower the butter, replace the cream with skim milk, reduce or remove the cheese or use less seafood) but that wasn’t my objective. This meal isn’t about being healthy, balanced or light. It’s about pure indulgence – And I think there’s a lot to be said for the occasional binge.
There are a few things that separate this recipe from other seafood fettuccine alfredo recipes:
- The seafood is lightly cooked in advance in an abundance of butter and garlic. The butter is then strained and used as the main part of the roux (a flour and fat combination that thickens sauces when boiled).
- It includes a bit of lemon. This hit of acid cuts the fat of the sauce which makes this taste lighter than it actually is. Taste the sauce before and after adding the lemon and you’ll be surprised at the difference.
- I’m going to recommend fresh noodles. If you’re going through the trouble to really indulge, either make noodles at home or buy fresh ones from a good market. There’s little comparison to the dried stuff and this is meant to be a treat! I also recommend seasoning your cooking liquid with the shells (like this). I won’t repeat that post here but check that out to take your pasta to the next level!
- Use the highest-fat butter possible. Most commercial butter is 80% (in Ontario); but there are alternatives which include an 84% butter from Sterling and some farmers markets carry better butter (such as Monteforte’s) as well. If you don’t think 4% is that much of a difference, consider the difference between commercially made skim and homo milks – it’s easy to tell which is which and they are (generally) around 4% different as well. If you can’t find higher-fat butter, just use more.
- Like any recipe, the following is a guide. Like most of our recipes, I’m going to give you a range and let you decide what you need. Trust your tongue and taste as you go – it may be a little scary if you’re less experienced but your mouth is always a better judge of how something tastes than a post on the internet!
Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get down to business!
- 1 pound pasta (Fettuccine)
- 1 pound of shellfish (cooked crab, cooked lobster or, in this case, peeled raw shrimp).
- 0.5-0.75 cups butter
- 2-3 cloves of garlic, chopped fine
- 1-1.5 cups heavy cream
- 2-3 tablespoons chicken, turkey or fish stock
- 1.5 cups of finely grated Parmesan (I use a rasp/ microplane)
- 0.5-1 lemon
- 0.5 cups fresh herbs (Italian Parsley and Chives are great additions)
- 2 Tbsp Flour
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Assuming you are using uncooked shrimp, do the following:
- Melt 0.5 cups of butter over medium-high heat (lower the temperature to medium once the butter is melted).
- Add the garlic and cook for 10 seconds.
- Add the shrimp, stir constantly. It should cook in two-four minutes (it is done when firm but not chewy).
- Remove shrimp with a slotted spoon (leaving as much liquid behind as possible) and place to side.
- Bring liquid to a simmer and reduce for a few minutes.
- To continue, you'll need approximately 2 tablespoons of butter in the pan (if you're not sure, add some more).
- Add 2 tablespoons of flour to the pan, stir constantly to make a paste (it's natural for some of this to stick to the bottom of the pan; it will lift off the pan in the next step). Cook for 3-4 minutes remove from heat just as the flour mixture begins to darken.
- Make sure you've removed the pan from the heat (place it on an unused element or cutting board) and add a small amount of cream. Stir until the paste is consistent. Continue to add a bit of cream and stir until you've used 1 cup (if you add it too quickly you'll see lumps which will go away if you continue to stir). The sauce should be thin (and not paste-like); if it's not, add the rest of the cream.
- Bring the sauce to a light simmer over medium-high heat. Stir constantly when it simmers for 2-3 minutes. If the sauce becomes too thick add a small amount of stock to think it out.
- After the sauce has reached the desired thickness, lower the heat to minimum.
- Add the Parmesan (ensuring the heat is on minimum).
- Squeeze half the lemon into the sauce. You should just taste the acid (but it shouldn't be lemony). Add more if needed.
- Add the seafood to warm it back up (when it's warm, you're ready to serve).
- Add the herbs and season with salt and pepper right before plating.