Do you feel cheated? You’ve been coming to this blog and reading about exercise, salad dressing, training for races. And now, here you are, gazing at a photo of something so obnoxiously indulgent that just looking at it might make you fat. It doesn’t fit, does it?
Well, I have two words for you. Balance, and indulgence. Vegetables are great, but nobody can eat them all the time. Just make sure that when you slip up, it’s worth it. (Have you ever been suckered into eating something that’s simultaneously terrible for you and awful-tasting? I’m talking grocery-store-bought birthday cake for a coworker’s birthday. Awkwardly standing around the conference room, you have to eat a little slice just to be nice. But every bite is a chore, and you’re mad about it because the cake is dry and crumbly and completely canceling out the run you planned to do that afternoon. It doesn’t even taste like it’s worth those calories). (I think that was more than two words).
Through 37 Cooks and Teet’s Food Store, I got hooked up with some great smoked pork sausage. It’s a natural pairing with shrimp: the flavorful sausage lends smokiness to briny, fresh seafood. This is one of those meals that evolved because I’m carbo-loading for my next race. And because a creamy, cheesy Alfredo sauce needs to be on the menu at least once per year. How’s that for efficiency?
Don’t think of Alfredo sauce as something that you can only have at restaurants. It’s shockingly easy to throw together at home, and you’ll love the results. Seriously, if you can bring cream to a simmer and then stir in a few more ingredients, you can make this dish in ten minutes. Of course, parmesan cheese is the traditional choice, but with that big sausage flavor coupled with a little Cajun seasoning, you’ll have delicious results using milder Asiago, fontina, or any combination of those.
You’ll want to pay careful attention to the timing on this. I’d set out a pot of water to boil before doing anything else. When it’s hot but not quite boiling yet, begin warming the cream. If you time things right, you’ll begin adding butter to the simmering cream when the pasta has just a couple of minutes to go. After a little bit of whisking, you’ll be able to add perfectly al dente pasta to the mixture, stir in the cheese, and dig in. It’s so easy and delicious, I promise you’ll think twice about ordering that $18 alfredo pasta dish next time you’re eating at an Italian restaurant.
If you still feel guilty about eating this, just call it carbo-loading.
Smoked Sausage and Shrimp Alfredo