Adapted from the Chardonnay chapter of “100 Perfect Pairings: Main Dishes to Enjoy with Wines You Love” by Jill Silverman Hough (Wiley, 2011)
Here’s a rich, creamy indulgence that somehow got a bad rap as, yes, an indulgence! Meanwhile, we gobble up similarly cheese- and dairy-laden macaroni and cheese without a second thought. Perhaps even more compelling, Fettuccine Alfredo is eons quicker and easier to make. So treat yourself already.
Adding crème fraîche to an otherwise traditional Alfredo sauce does two things. It gives the dish a delectably contemporary twist. But more importantly, it helps make it a great pairing for your favorite wine, especially Chardonnay or Viognier, the crème fraîche contributing both richness and brightness, mimicking those characteristics in the wine.
- 12 ounces fettuccine pasta
- 2 cups fresh or frozen peas
- 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
- 1 cup crème fraîche
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (4 to 5 ounces), plus more for serving
- 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt, plus more to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon white pepper, ideally freshly ground, plus more to taste
- 4 thin slices prosciutto (about 2 ounces), cut crosswise into 1/4-inch strips (optional)
In a large pot of boiling, well-salted water (1 tablespoon of coarse kosher salt per quart), cook the pasta according to package directions. Stir in the peas 2 minutes before the pasta is al dente.
While the pasta is cooking, in a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. When it’s almost melted, whisk in the crème fraîche and cream, increase the heat to medium-high, and bring to a simmer. Whisk in the cheese, salt, and pepper and remove from the heat. Cover and set aside.
Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta-cooking water, then drain the pasta and peas. Return the pasta and peas to the pot and stir in the Alfredo sauce and prosciutto, if using. Taste, ideally with your wine, and add more salt, pepper, and/or a little cooking water if you like. Serve hot, passing additional cheese at the table.
FOOD + WINE TIP If your Chardonnay is particularly crisp, have a few lemon wedges at the ready. A squeeze on top of the pasta will take the pairing from good to practically perfect.