Pasta Legend Missy Robbins Shares Her Mouthwatering Fettuccine Alfredo Recipe
Part cookbook, part memoir, Pasta: The Spirit and Craft of Italy's Greatest Food, with Recipes ($35, amazon.com), traces star chef Missy Robbins's journey into the heart of the Italian art form—and it's also a romance, since her co-author, Talia Baiocchi, went from friend to fiancée over the course of the project. Robbins's warm guidance (and fettuccine Alfredo!) will win you over, too.
You might think of fresh pasta as a special treat in a top Italian restaurant—and if you ate at Robbins's restaurants, Misi and Lilia, in Brooklyn, you'd be right. But she believes it's so much more. In her new book, the Connecticut native invites you into her world, where the staple is comforting and familiar, yet also complex. Take fettuccine Alfredo, the first dinner-party dish she made, at age 15. She's since evolved it into the refined version that she now serves at Misi.
Robbins also likes to nerd out over hyper-regional forms of pasta, like buckwheat-based bigoli from the Veneto area. "I wasn't a natural when I started," she says. "It takes touch, feel, and perseverance. I'm really good at it because I love it." One twirl and you'll be smitten.
One of the things that sets Robbins Fresh Fettuccine apart is that it's made with just egg yolks, "I've always made egg pasta with just the yolks," she says. "It's a northern-Italian thing." The result has a richer, silkier mouthfeel than dough that includes the whole egg: "Egg white adds a chew that I find less refined."
Robbins serves up her Fettuccine Alfredo recipe and shares her ace technique: "Cooking pasta is not about boiling it," she insists. "It's about the marriage of sauce and pasta in the pan over heat." Keep it moving, folding and tossing it, so the fettuccine absorbs the butter sauce evenly—and add the cheese only at the end, or it will clump.