Pasta with alla Panna Sauce isn't that hard to make. With just a few simple ingredients, you too can make this alfredo cream sauce to put over spaghetti, penne or linguini pasta.
Alfredo Sauce vs. Alla Panna Sauce
Interestingly enough, Alfredo Sauce is not the same as Alla Panna Sauce. In fact, the original Alfredo Sauce only contained parmesan cheese and butter. Alfredo sauce as we know it today is merely a "myth".
The original alfredo sauce was served in a restaurant in Rome, Italy by a gentleman who's restaurant was called "da Alfredo". Served as a quick meal.
Naturally, no one would go to a restaurant and ask for pasta with butter and parmesan cheese. However, this is a tasty dish that will crave anyone's hunger just the same.
Mother's, of low income families, quickly threw this dish together and "shoveled it" in front of their hungry kids.
To learn more about the origin of alfredo sauce visit Wiki.
If you ask for Pasta Alfredo in Italy today, you are sure to get a dirty look because they will think you are asking for "cold pasta". Alfredo translated to English means "cold".
Getting back on topic, the Pasta Alfredo you know now in the Americas and globally is actually Pasta alla Panna, made with whole cream, butter, parmesan cheese and a few other ingredients. This is much different than pasta "da Alfredo".
Tips and Tricks to Making the Best Alla Panna Sauce
Do I Need to Use Heavy Cream?
The short answer is yes. If you want to make Panna sauce, then you need to use heavy cream or 35% cream or full fat cream.
If you choose to use half and half cream, you well get a sloppy mess. Half and Half cream (half full cream and half milk), when brought to a boil separates and looks nasty. And the taste is not creamy.
If you are looking for a cream sauce using milk instead of cream, you could consider a Béchamel Sauce. Béchamel sauce is made from melted butter and milk, and then adding in flour to make a roux. But recipes will remain for another day.
What Other Ingredients Can I add?
You don't really need to add any more ingredients than the basics:
- Whole cream
- Parmesan cheese
- egg as in Pasta alla Carbonara
- sauce and vodka as in Pasta all Vodka
But, if you really want to kick up the flavor, you can add things like:
- green pees
- bacon or prosciutto
- anything else
Further, you don't need to use spaghetti, linguine or a long pasta. You can make a panna sauce and serve it with short pasta like penne, rigatoni or macaroni.
Leftovers and Storage
Not that you will have any leftovers, but if you do, you can store this in a microwave safe container in the fridge for 3 to 4 days. Then when you are ready to eat it, you can microwave it, or transfer it to a fry pan to heat up.
Note that when you re-heat the pasta you will loose the creaminess of the sauce and it will appear more "butter" like and oily. Particularly if you place it in the microwave. That's because you are heating it up quickly and the oils and fats separate.
This pasta with panna sauce does not freeze well, so avoid placing it in the freezer at all costs.
Reflection: Cooking is like science, you need to experiment with different combinations to come up with the perfect result (for you). But, don't worry if it's not perfect. Pat yourself on the back for trying, you deserve it! Just try and figure out what you did wrong and do it different next time.
Looking for a marinara sauce? Why not try my homemade marinara sauce here?
Other Main Dishes
- Beef Involtini with Prosciutto (Braciole)
- Creamy Garlic Mushroom Pasta
- Pasta with Ricotta and Peas
- Pasta alla Norma (Pasta with Eggplant Sauce)
- Spinach and Ricotta Stuffed Pasta Shells
- Easy Cowboy Chili with Corn
- Spaghetti and Veal Meatballs (Spaghetti con Polpette di Vitello)
- Traditional Italian Risotto Recipe with Seafood
Not ready to make this now? No problem, PIN it for later here:
Alfredo Cream Sauce
- 1 package spaghetti/linguini pasta
- 4 slices of prosciutto cut up into squares
- Boil pasta as per package directions and remove from water when it is "al dente".
- Drain pasta over colander and pour back into pot while you make the alfredo sauce.
- On medium heat in a small saucepan on cook the the prosciutto until it is crispy.
- Add cream, butter and parmesan cheese.
- Stir continuously and bring to boil.
- Add green peas, stir and simmer for 5 minutes.
- This sauce should thicken slightly.
- Add pepper to taste.
- Pour the sauce over the pasta and mix thoroughly.
- Serve immediately.