Chicken Alfredo is a delicious warming recipe and it is best served for dinner.
The key to great homemade pasta will boil down to the quality of the eggs you use, how long you knead the dough and how thin you are able to roll it out. Other cooks will tell you that you need certain types of flours (00 flour or semolina) but I find that I make a pretty decent pasta with just all purpose flour with a high percentage of protein. I chose King Authur’s flour with an 11.7% gluten forming protein content. I also like to let my pasta dry out a bit before cooking it. I find it gives a better bite if I dry it out for a few hours before cooking it.
Eggs or egg yolks:
I only use large cage free or free range organic eggs. There is no other liquid in pasta dough so you want the eggs to be fresh and delicious. For a richer pasta dough, you may use just egg yolks. I prefer just egg yolks when I am making pasta for raviolis.
Kneading the dough:
Once you are able to bring the dough together starting with a fork and ending with your hands, you will need to spend some time kneading the dough. You will have to knead the dough for about 8 minutes, rest the dough for 5 minutes and knead again for another 6-7 minutes. You may want to put on some good music while you do this because the kneading time will feel eternal. But this step is crucial for developing the gluten in the dough. Once the dough is ready, you should be able to press into it with your index finger and the dough should spring back. If your finger imprint stays in the dough, you either didn’t use enough flour or you didn’t knead the dough enough.
Rolling by hand or machine:
I personally prefer to roll pasta dough by hand but I prefer to do most things the long way. Using a roller is easier and yields just as great pasta. The key to rolling is keeping the surface floured and rolling until the pasta is very thin. Once the pasta hits water, it will swell while cooking. If it isn’t thin enough before cooking, the texture and look of the pasta will be all wrong. Using a pasta roller is the surest and easiest way to make sure your pasta is thin enough. If I roll my pasta with a pin by hand, I roll it until I can see the cutting board through it.
This alfredo sauce was made from scratch using heavy cream and a mix of grated parmesan and mascarpone cream cheese. Alfredo sauce generally won’t thicken without the addition of the cheese. Parmesan has a quick melting point and I prefer the flavor in this sauce. Always opt to grate the cheese yourself rather than purchasing already grated cheese. Grated cheeses have chemicals on them to keep the shreds from sticking together. Those chemicals in turn make it harder for those cheeses to melt.
Spicing the sauce:
I like adding red pepper flakes, minced onion and garlic and a bit of paprika to this sauce. Spicing up the sauce is so much better than just using salt and pepper. You will definitely want to be careful with the amount of salt you add since there is salt in the cheese, in the pasta water and on the chicken.
Cooking fresh pasta:
Dried pasta will cook in 6-8 minutes depending on the size and thickness of it. Fresh pasta will generally cook in half of that time 3-4 minutes. It’s important that the pasta is placed in rapidly boiling water that was already salted. Use your oven timer to time the cooking of the pasta to prevent eyeballing and overcooking. Overcooked fresh pasta is practically inedible.
I seasoned the chicken lightly with chicken seasoning, garlic and onion powder and black pepper. You can choose to pan fry the chicken but I grilled mine.
- For chicken:
- 1 pound chicken tenderloins
- 1 tbsp chicken seasoning
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp onion powder
- ½ tsp black pepper
- ½ tsp paprika
- ½ tsp tuscan herb seasoning
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- For pasta:
- 2 cups all purpose flour, spooned and leveled
- 3 large eggs
- For alfredo sauce:
- ¼ cup butter
- 3 cloves garlic
- ½ tsp red pepper flakes
- ¼ tsp paprika
- 2 cups heavy cream
- ¼ tsp tuscan herb seasoning
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- 2 tbsp mascarpone cream cheese
- 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
- ¼ cup chopped parsley
- Season chicken by combining the oil, chicken seasoning, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, paprika and herbs in a medium bowl. Mix well to combine. Add cleaned and rinsed chicken to the bowl and toss in seasonings until fully coated. Set chicken aside to marinate while you make the pasta.
- Spoon and level flour into a measuring cup. Dump measured flour onto a clean surface. Make a wide well in the center of the flour. Crack eggs into the well. Use a fork to break the yolks and whisk the eggs. Use the fork to gently whisk the flour around the edges of the well into the eggs. Do this in small amounts until most of the flour is combined in the eggs. Once you can no longer use the fork, use your hands to incorporate the remaining flour on the board into the whisked eggs. Bring the dough together into a ball. It will seem shaggy and dry but once you begin to knead, it will get smoother. If the dough seems too dry, sprinkle a few drops of water to the dough and the board to help all of the flour to come together.
- Knead the dough for 8 minutes. Rest the dough for 5 minutes under a clean cloth and knead again for an additional 7 minutes. Knead using the heel of your palms to stretch and fold the dough.The dough should be smooth once kneaded enough and should bounce back after pressing your index finger into it. Wrap the dough in cling film and set aside.
- Grill or pan fry the chicken for 5-6 minutes on each side until cooked through. Set aside to rest.
- Cut the pasta dough into 4 manageable pieces. Roll it out as thin as you can get it. Roll each piece into a cylindrical shape and use a sharp knife to cut the pasta as wide as you desire. Dust the pasta with more flour and open the rolls. You may hang the pasta to dry out before boiling for 3-4 minutes in salted boiling water. Drain pasta in a colander and drizzle with a bit of olive oil.
- To make the sauce, start by melting the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add in the garlic and cook until fragrant. Add the heavy cream and cream cheese and stir to melt the cheese. Season the sauce with red pepper flakes, paprika, black pepper and tuscan seasoning. Lastly, add in the grated parmesan and stir in until it melts. Taste the sauce for salt and add if necessary. Reduce the heat to low heat and allow the sauce to simmer and thicken.
- Slice the chicken into ½ inch thick slices. Add pasta to the sauce and gently toss until coated. Add chicken and gently tossed until coated in the sauce. Finish the dish with more grated parmesan cheese and fresh parsley. Serve hot.