I am a huge fan of Olive Garden. My favorite sauce is the Alfredo by far, but the marinara is great too. But, unfortunately, the closest Olive Garden is 3 hrs away! So I set out to replicate my favorite Olive Garden recipes, the Alfredo sauce being one of them. I've experimented alot and settled on the best replica and also one of the simplest.
1Fill a large pot with water and salt generously. A dash of olive oil can also be added to help with the separation of the noodles as they cook.
Place the pot on a large burner and turn the stove temperature to medium-high to high. Once water comes to a boil, pour in noodles and cook according to the instructions on the noodle packaging.
When draining the noodles, reserve 1 cup of the pasta water for later. Do NOT rinse the noodles! The starch off the noodles helps the sauce cling to the noodles properly.
2In a large, preferably non-stick, skillet with high sides, place the stick to butter into it and turn the temperature to medium.
3Once butter has melted and started to foam, add the minced garlic and the pepper. Cook the garlic for 1 minute. Do NOT overcook the garlic because it will become bitter.
4Pour the heavy cream in the skillet and stir with a wooden or plastic spoon, so as to not scratch the non-stick surface of the skillet.
5Keep stirring the butter and cream mixture for 15-20 minutes on medium heat. The butter will eventually be picked up by and blend into the cream, to form a homogeneous mixture. The sauce will reduce by almost half. You will know when you are close to being finished when the sauce has visibly thickened, which takes about 15-20 minutes.
Turn heat to low.
6Once sauce as reached desired thickness, add in the grated Parmesan cheese while stirring continuously. Once the cheese has melted completely, the Alfredo sauce is finished and ready for serving.
If sauce becomes too thick, you can slowly add in the reserved pasta water to desired consistency.
7Serve Alfredo sauce on top of the hot, cooked pasta. Additional Parmesan cheese can be sprinkled on top of each serving, if desired.
Recipe serves 4.
8If desired, this recipe works great with a variety of meats and vegetables. Examples of some I have accomplished with fantastic results is the addition of sliced, grilled chicken breast placed on top of pasta or added to the finished sauce.
Another variation is shrimp and peas. Cook 1 lb peeled and deveined fresh shrimp, seasoned with a dash of extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkling of Italian seasoning, in separate skillet until pink. Cover and set aside.
Towards the end of the cooking time for the pasta with 2 minutes left for cooking, add 1 lb of frozen peas to the pot with the pasta. After timer goes off, drain the pasta and peas, setting them to the side. Again, reserve a cup of pasta water to use in thinning the sauce later.
Once the sauce is finished, combine the shrimp, pasta and peas in the skillet the Alfredo sauce, if skillet is large enough. If skillet is too small, combine everything in a large bowl and serve immediately.