Yield: 2 cups (enough for 4 servings with pasta)
- 8 ounces butter
- 4 minced garlic cloves or chopped shallots (optional)
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley (optional)
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil (optional)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 pound uncooked pasta of your choice
- In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Add garlic or shallots, if using, and sauté until translucent.
- Add cream, whisking constantly, heating until bubbling and thickened.
- Add optional parsley, basil, and salt and pepper to taste, whisking until the sauce is velvety smooth.
- Keep sauce warm until ready to use.
- Cook pasta according to package directions.
- Divide pasta into four servings and pour warm sauce on top.
Note: By adding 1 cup of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese to step 3, above, you will have an Alfredo sauce.
Alla panna simply means "with cream sauce" in Italian. This cream sauce can be likened to a French béchamel except no flour is used. The sauce thickens by reduction. It can be used over pasta, meats, and vegetables. Consider a chicken and mushroom dish.
Chicken-and-Mushroom alla Panna
Mix together the prepared cream sauce with cooked chicken breast meat and a small, well-drained can of sliced mushrooms (you don't want to dilute the velvety thickness of the sauce) and heat until warm throughout. Serve over a pound of cooked al dente linguine or other pasta. A side salad and crusty Italian bread are all you need for a gourmet meal that takes mere minutes to prepare.
If desired, pass grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese at table.