Monday, February 20, 2012

Lunch Box Chronicles: Day One Hundred Fifty-Four (The Five Star Alfredo Sauce Recipe Scratched on a Paper Bag)

You never know what you will find scratched on a paper bag.

My son, Spencer, and I were lucky to be the beneficiaries of a FIVE STAR alfredo recipe inked on said receptacle.

Spencer has been lobbying for fettuccine alfredo for several weeks. The problem is that he can't eat regular wheat without feeling really lousy, so going to an Italian restaurant is not an option.

Fortunately, we now live in NYC, one of the most gastronomically diverse cities in the world. And, we live close to one of the best neighborhoods for Italian provisions, Arthur Avenue in the Bronx.

Shall I admit that I have become slightly addicted to the seemingly infinite supply of homemade pastas, fresh mozzarella and ricotta, imported cheeses, locally cured meats, and sinful desserts? Not to mention the wine, cappuccino, and friendly conversation?

On this President's Day, the family set out on an excursion to buy Italian groceries to make the coveted alfredo sauce. Destination? Teitel Bros. on Arthur Avenue.

We were headed there not only for the cheeses and imported butter, but for the farro (emmer variety) pasta. Farro is a concept "deeply rooted in Italian tradition." The term "farro" is reserved for three cultivated hulled ancient wheat species, including einkorn (farro piccolo), emmer (farro medio), and spelt (farro grande). The beauty is that we know that Spencer can eat each of these varieties without getting the modern wheat blues.

As I was searching for the farro pasta hidden behind other tempting provisions, the owner Ed, asked what I was looking for. I reminded him that I'm the spelt lady, who was in the week before, and was looking for the farro we purchased the other day. "Ohhh, the lawyer, I remember," he said. He moved aside the bottles of olive oil, and opened the gateway to the Farro Pasta. I felt like a hoarder as I stacked 6 boxes in my arms. "The kid wants fettucine alfredo," I said as I tried to clarify that I was not chowing down all the pasta myself.

"Would you like a recipe?" Ed inquired. "Mike here is an expert. He owned a five star Italian restaurant in NJ. He has the best alfredo recipe." Spencer beamed at me as if we had just hit the jackpot. "Absolutely," I said. As I tried to scratch down the recipe, however, Ed, Mike, and now John saw that my attempts to keep up with the recitation of the recipe was becoming futile. Mike took over, got a paper bag, and a pen, and unlocked the key to the secret of a divine alfredo sauce (see photo above).

Good thing Spencer was around as a second set of ears. I did not quite get all of the directions straight and the writing on the paper bag was slightly cryptic. Between the two of us, mom and son, we were able to decipher the alfredo recipe. The result was close to divine. For fear that I might not recite the recipe as it should be, I will reveal only the secret ingredients (fresh ground nutmeg, Italian butter, and an egg yolk) and you will have to go to Teitel's yourself for the recipe and the magic.

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