From The Classic Italian Cookbook by Giuliano Hazan
I’m writing this recipe down with the amount of ingredients called for in the book, but as I often make it for 1 or for 2, I adjust it down. I put in the cream by eye so I never use 1 cup, and I don’t think I would even use an entire cup for 4 people – and you know I’m not a creamphobe. You will have to mess around with it a little to get it the way you like it, but don’t avoid it just because it sounds like a lot of cream and butter. It’s really wonderful. You can vary it by adding some diced ham and green peas, which makes it a little more substantial and very pretty.
1 pound of pasta serves 4 as a main course (4 oz. per person) and 8 as a side dish (2 oz. per person)
1 pound dried fettuccine
3 tablespoons butter (I use a maximum of 1 tablespoon for 2 people)
1 cup heavy cream (I use less, probably by at least half)
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
Salt and black pepper (I don’t use the pepper)
½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (I grate this by hand using the original Microplane grater)
2 pieces of Canadian bacon, cut into small pieces (optional)
1/4 cup frozen petite peas (optional)
Put the butter and cream in a large skillet over medium-high heat and boil, stirring frequently, until the cream thickens and has reduced almost by half. If you are going to add the Canadian bacon and peas, add them while the sauce is thickening to heat. The peas will defrost while cooking. Add the nutmeg and salt (I always use Maldon sea salt here). Remove from the heat and set aside.
Add pasta to lots of salted boiling water, stirring well, and cook until al dente. Drain, and add to the sauce in the skillet. Add the grated cheese to the skillet, then toss until the pasta is well coated with the sauce. Turn off the heat. Taste for seasoning, adding pepper if desired. Serve immediately.