Start by melting a couple of tablespoons of butter into a pan. Add a couple of tablespoons of flour to the melted butter, stirring until it has formed a pasty consistency. This is known as a roux (“roo”).
Over a low heat, slowly add a couple of cups liquid. Choose from milk, half and half (a milk product with half milk and half cream), heavy cream, low fat cream, or cream created specially for cooking. You can also use a combination of these liquids with broth or white wine.
Stir your liquids on a low heat until the flour mixture is dissolved and then allow this mixture to thicken. The flour needs to cook to eliminate that powdery taste. Do NOT boil – the cream will curdle. Keep the temperature low.
When your creamy sauce is ready you can add cheese, sautéed vegetables, greens, tomatoes, meat, herbs and various seasonings to create a variety of different creamy sauces. Here’s an idea to get you started.
--Recipe For Easy Chicken Alfredo--
400g of pasta (fettuccine, penne, shells or bows work well)
1 tablespoon cooking oil
4 tablespoons butter
1kg chicken breasts, diced
1 onion, diced
400g mushrooms, sliced or diced
1 teaspoon of garlic, minced
2 cups milk
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
150ml cream, thickened
100g green vegetables (broccoli, baby spinach, peas etc)
Boil a large pot of water with a pinch of salt and a tablespoon of cooking oil (the oil stops the pasta from sticking together). Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook until al dente, drain, rinse and set aside.
While the pasta is cooking, in a large frying pan, on medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons of butter and add the garlic, mushrooms and onion. Sauté the lot until the onions are translucent. Add the chicken pieces and pan fry till it loses its pink colour.
Remove the chicken, garlic, mushrooms and onions from the frying pan or move to the side. Add the other 2 tablespoons of butter and melt. Add the flour and mix into the melted butter. Heat till flour is cooked and no longer tastes powdery.
Over a low heat, slowly add the cream and the milk to the cooked flour mixture. Add the Parmesan cheese and allow the sauce to thicken. Add the chicken and mushroom mixture back into the sauce. Stir well. Add the vegetables and heat through. Put pasta into dishes and spon the chicken alfredo sauce over the pasta. Eat and enjoy!
This recipe can be altered to make an alfredo-type of lasagne. Make the sauce with the sautéed garlic, onions and mushrooms, but leave out the chicken. Cook the chicken separately and add a hint of Italian seasoning. When the sauce is ready, ladle a small amount into the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish. Place a sheet of quick-cooking lasagne on top. Add a layer of chicken and ladle more sauce on top of the chicken. Add another sheet of lasagne and repeat the layers until the casserole is topped with a layer of sauce. Sprinkle additional parmesan cheese on top and bake for 45 minutes at 175C (350 F or gas mark 4). Stand for five minutes after cooking then slice and serve with a green salad. Yum!