While the world typically refers to a white cream cheese sauce as an Alfredo sauce, there is one key difference here. PECORINO ROMANO CHEESE.
Long story short, a classic Alfredo sauce uses Parmesan cheese and once simmered and set, resulting in a gooey, thick and dense creamy white sauce (wow, that's a lot of adjectives. Here I am making my elementary school English teachers proud with that vocabulary...).
For today's sauce, the use of Pecorino will slightly richen the flavor and lessen the density of the sauce compared to that of the classic Alfredo.
2-3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
5 cloves Garlic (minced)
7 cups White Wine (typically I use a Chablis or other dry wine)
3 cups Heavy Cream
2-3 cups Spinach (optional)
1 teaspoon Salt
2-3 dashes of Black Pepper
1 dash of Cayenne Pepper
1 cup Pecorino Romano Cheese (but have about 3 cups on hand)
2 Tablespoons All-Purpose Flour (sifted - optional)
~30 oz. of Pasta (works well with fresh ravioli or tortellini)
1. In a medium saucepan, sauté Olive Oil, Unsalted Butter and Garlic on a medium flame. Sauté the Garlic until it's a light brown and has released an aroma.
let's be Frank: The purpose here is to really release the flavor of the garlic. If you burn the garlic, it's best to start over.
2. Pour in the White Wine, raise the heat flame and stir until the wine begins to simmer and boil.
let's be Frank: Our goal here is to burn off some of the alcohol but retain the wine's flavor.
3. Pour in the Heavy Cream and lower back to a medium flame. Continue to stir and simmer the sauce for ~5 minutes.
4. Add in the Spinach, Salt, Black Pepper and Cayenne Pepper. Stir well.
let's be Frank: Why are we using such little salt? Simple. Pecorino Romano is a naturally salty cheese. The cheese (and its saltiness) is what will bring out the flavor.
let's be Frank: Like anytime spinach is cooked, it will shrink dramatically. Always overestimate if you love your greens!
Optional for a Thicker Sauce.
Add in the sifted All Purpose Flour and stir until incorporated. Just be cautious. Too much flour will lead to a powdery taste.
Another alternative is after Step 5 (below), simmer the sauce for 5-10 minutes longer. Then, remove from heat and let cool for five minutes before serving.
5. Add in the Pecorino Romano cheese, stir and taste (YES! You read that right! Actually taste it.). Keep the pot on the flame until you're satisfied with the taste.
let's be Frank: The directions list it as 1 cup. However, it's all about your palate. Especially depending on the type of wine used, you will likely need to add more cheese.
let's be Frank: DO NOT BE AFRAID. Instead of adding another cup right away, add tablespoons of cheese at a time to gradually adjust the flavor. The same method is true with result to the black and cayenne pepper (just don't add tablespoons of pepper 🤣).
6. Mix sauce with your choice of cooked pasta and enjoy!
Frankie's #1 Rule: Remember to ALWAYS add a healthy dash of salt to the water pot for your pasta. ALWAYS.