I’ve realized that I become a much better cook when I experiment instead of following recipes. I actually learn cause and effect, and not just how to follow directions. Which, isn’t really a surprise because I almost always learn better by doing.
Last night I wanted to make a white sauce (I hesitate to call it alfredo) with dinner, but knew I didn’t have cream, which my favorite white sauce recipe calls for, so I decided to wing it. I don’t know what kind of sauce it was, but it was amazing. And I wish I knew what amounts I used so I could accurately replicate it at some point.
First I started by chopping some garlic. I let that saute for a few minutes in some melting butter until the butter starts to simmer, just the tiniest bit. Then add the flour, a little at a time, until it looks thick and fluffy, but not floury at all. If you love the taste of browned butter (like me) feel free to let it sit for a minute at this stage to get just those hints of it. When the kitchen starts to smell like heaven, I added chicken stock and a little bit of milk. I seasoned pretty simply with some ground salt and pepper and just a titch of rosemary. I let that sit over medium heat for a few minutes while my pasta was cooking and I defrosted some cooked shrimp.
Because I’m lazy, I literally just put the frozen shrimp in a colander, run some water over them, and then when my pasta is done, pour it through the same colander. Easy.
After the liquid reduced a bit, I added cheese. Because what sauce can be delicious if it doesn’t have cheese in it? Answer. None sauce. I used a combination of parmesan and mozzarella and stirred till it was melted evenly in. Make sure your heat isn’t too high or the cheese will burn, which is less than ideal.
Once your cheese is in, add the pasta and shrimps and stir. Then add more salt and pepper. Because it sounds good. And let everything sit on medium low heat, stirring occasionally, while the flavors all meld together.
Voila. White sauce. Delicious, cheesy, white sauce. It even reheats well. Please enjoy my attempts to guess at the amounts:
2-3 cloves garlic
3 T butter
2 or so T flour, add a little at a time so it doesn’t taste floury
1 cup of chicken stock… ish
1/3 cup of milk… ish
1/2-3/4 cup cheese… ish to taste; add a little at a time until you think it looks good
salt & pepper and seasonings to taste
In other news, by reading this recipe, one could deduce that I have become my mother–her recipes always look like this. Used to drive me crazy.