Yummy Alfredo spaghetti sauce.

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Mag

Yummy Alfredo spaghetti sauce.
« on: 23 Sep 2017, 07:51 pm »
Recently I had a courier trip from Saskatoon to Regina Sask., Canada. After driving for 3 hours and it being 12:30 I stopped at a restaurant beside my destination.

The attractive waitress gave me a menu. I did not see prices on the menu so I played it safe and ordered something cheap, Alfredo spaghetti with mushrooms.

So when I finished the waitress gave me the bill, $23.00. Holy Cow! I blurted out, $23.00 for pasta and a coke, I can make that for less than $3.00. The cook was apparently sitting nearby an overheard my comment and something like "then go make it at home."

So that's what I did yesterday I made spaghetti with Alfredo sauce. And it tasted Yummy, a heck of a lot better tasting than at that restaurant.

$ 1.00 worth of spaghetti, $ 2.98 a box.
$ 2.09 Alfredo sauce seasoning packette
$ .40 3 tablespoons of butter
$ .10 4 tablespoons of powdered milk
$ .10 3 tablespoon of virgin olive oil
$ .00 3/4 cup of pasta sea salted water
$ .10 sprinkling of Parmesan cheese

$ 3.79 estimated cost Total.

ctviggen

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Re: Yummy Alfredo spaghetti sauce.
« Reply #1 on: 23 Sep 2017, 08:19 pm »
I have to throw the BS flag on this one.  If the restaurant was worth anything, there's no way the sauce you made tasted as good.  Theirs was fresh, yours was this:

MODIFIED CORN STARCH, BUTTER [CREAM (MILK), SALT], NONFAT DRY MILK, WHEY (MILK), PARMESAN AND ROMANO CHEESES (CULTURED PART-SKIM COW'S MILK, SALT, ENZYMES), MALTODEXTRIN, SALT, WHEY PROTEIN CONCENTRATE (MILK), BUTTERMILK POWDER, GARLIC, SPICES, ONION, AND CITRIC ACID.

For crying out loud, you used powdered milk. That stuff is crap. 

At the very least, make real alfredo from scratch before complaining.  Try this, for instance:

http://www.wikihow.com/Make-Homemade-Alfredo-Sauce

And, if you can't take that cost for pasta, you should stay home.  That's a reasonable cost where I live for that meal.

Mag

Re: Yummy Alfredo spaghetti sauce.
« Reply #2 on: 23 Sep 2017, 08:41 pm »
I have to throw the BS flag on this one.  If the restaurant was worth anything, there's no way the sauce you made tasted as good.  Theirs was fresh, yours was this:

MODIFIED CORN STARCH, BUTTER [CREAM (MILK), SALT], NONFAT DRY MILK, WHEY (MILK), PARMESAN AND ROMANO CHEESES (CULTURED PART-SKIM COW'S MILK, SALT, ENZYMES), MALTODEXTRIN, SALT, WHEY PROTEIN CONCENTRATE (MILK), BUTTERMILK POWDER, GARLIC, SPICES, ONION, AND CITRIC ACID.

For crying out loud, you used powdered milk. That stuff is crap. 

At the very least, make real alfredo from scratch before complaining.  Try this, for instance:

http://www.wikihow.com/Make-Homemade-Alfredo-Sauce

And, if you can't take that cost for pasta, you should stay home.  That's a reasonable cost where I live for that meal.

You're right about the Alfredo seasoning but wrong on the taste.

I read prior too, the secret to great tasting pasta is to salt the water to the right proportion. I also used quality virgin olive oil, real butter, real parmesan cheese. Powder milk because I don't drink milk, experimenting in the past I found 4 tablespoons tastes like real milk to me.

That price is ridiculous, I regularly eat at a buffet in Saskatoon. A full meal serving cost in the neighborhood of $12.00. That was the price I expected to pay, plus a coke.

SoCalWJS

Re: Yummy Alfredo spaghetti sauce.
« Reply #3 on: 23 Sep 2017, 09:24 pm »
The lesson here?

If you don't see the price, ask, or you probably can't afford it.

Mag

Re: Yummy Alfredo spaghetti sauce.
« Reply #4 on: 23 Sep 2017, 09:37 pm »
The lesson here?

If you don't see the price, ask, or you probably can't afford it.

Also business that use deceptive practice are probably going to rip you off. :|

srb

Re: Yummy Alfredo spaghetti sauce.
« Reply #5 on: 23 Sep 2017, 11:50 pm »
The lesson here?
Never buy anything, food or otherwise, without first knowing the price


I read prior too, the secret to great tasting pasta is to salt the water to the right proportion.
The secret to great tasting pasta is to make or buy fresh rather than the dried boxed product.

S Clark

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Re: Yummy Alfredo spaghetti sauce.
« Reply #6 on: 24 Sep 2017, 01:00 pm »
You agreed to a purchase without knowing the price???  :nono:

Brettio

Re: Yummy Alfredo spaghetti sauce.
« Reply #7 on: 24 Sep 2017, 01:34 pm »
This is just me, but if I didn’t drink milk the LAST thing in the world I would eat is an Alfredo sauce.


Mag

Re: Yummy Alfredo spaghetti sauce.
« Reply #8 on: 24 Sep 2017, 02:41 pm »
You agreed to a purchase without knowing the price???  :nono:

These kind of restaurants gotta be hurtin. They are not competitive with fast food joints and buffet lunches. And the new GST tax or consumption tax now on restaurant food as well, IMO is a killer tax. They have to fight against that tax next election.


Mag

Re: Yummy Alfredo spaghetti sauce.
« Reply #9 on: 24 Sep 2017, 02:51 pm »
This is just me, but if I didn’t drink milk the LAST thing in the world I would eat is an Alfredo sauce.

No, I don't drink milk, so if I buy milk it will spoil in the frig before I drink it all. Whereas powdered milk can keep for a long time, which I use for cooking with mashed potatoes and now Alfredo spaghetti sauce.

I certainly could have made my own spice mix as I have lots of spices. The objective here was to see if I could make the sauce and spaghetti to approx. $ 3.00 the average Joe would purchase at grocery store.

I've done a number of deliveries to kitchens restaurants. There is no reason to assume they didn't use a pre-made spice mix ( they usually buy bulk ), which is why I decided to go that route.

roscoe65

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Re: Yummy Alfredo spaghetti sauce.
« Reply #10 on: 24 Sep 2017, 03:52 pm »
I'll offer some thoughts:

Menu Prices

If a restaurant does not have menu prices (either for their entire menu or specials) it is entirely acceptable to ask the price.  No one will think less of you and you won't be unpleasantly surprised.

The ingredient price of a restaurant meal is only a part (typically 30%) of the meal cost.  The restaurant must pay rent, utilities, staff costs, and a number of other expenses.

Fettucine Alfredo

Traditional Fettucine Alfredo is a very simple dish.  What you described is a cheesy pasta dish but is not Fettucine Alfredo.  The expected ingredients are cream, butter, grated Parmigiano, salt, pepper and fresh fettucine pasta.  I have no idea what "Alfredo Seasoning" is but I expect it to be a Knorr sauce mix packet.  The most common recipe is this:

4-6 servings (call it 4 servings to be generous)

1 pound fettuccine (fresh) ($4.00)
8 tablespoons (4 oz/1 stick) unsalted butter ($1.00)
1 cup heavy cream ($2.00)
2 cups (6 oz) shredded Parmesan cheese ($4.00 - this actual Parmigiano Reggiano.  Domestic stuff will be about $2.00)
1/2 Pound mushrooms (because OP used mushrooms) ($1.00)
Salt
Black pepper

I'm in a high COL area and my cost per serving is $3.00.  I'm not using dried spaghetti or sauce packets.  If you made your own pasta (or used dried) and chose cheaper ingredients, your cost per serving would be under $2.00.

If you're trying to reproduce the Olive Garden version of this, go ahead and use jarred sauce or sauce packets.

Fresh vs. Dried Pasta

There are two broad rules for fresh vs. dried pasta:  northern Italian dishes (such as this, which include milk or cream) generally use fresh pasta while southern Italian dishes which do not use cream or milk generally use dried pasta.  Another "rule" is that simple dishes use fresh pasta while more complex dishes use dried pasta.  There are exceptions, which include Spaghetti Carbonara, which uses dried spaghetti, eggs and cheese to make a sauce that is similar to Alfredo.  Carbonara is traditionally made from ingredients a woodman might carry with him, so dried or cured ingredients might be more appropriate.

Brettio

Re: Yummy Alfredo spaghetti sauce.
« Reply #11 on: 24 Sep 2017, 05:55 pm »
There is no reason to assume they didn't use a pre-made spice mix ( they usually buy bulk )

I guess it comes down to the restaurant owner or their chef to determine if a pre-made sauce from a can, jar, or envelope is good enough to serve in their restaurant. I choose to avoid those places but to each their own.

I’ll defer to Roscoe65 on his excellent post on expected Alfredo ingredients. 

srb

Re: Yummy Alfredo spaghetti sauce.
« Reply #12 on: 24 Sep 2017, 06:02 pm »
2 cups (6 oz) shredded Parmesan cheese ($4.00 - this actual Parmigiano Reggiano.

$10.67/lb. is actually a pretty good price for Reggiano.  Is that a Costco, Sam's or similar purchase?

roscoe65

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Re: Yummy Alfredo spaghetti sauce.
« Reply #13 on: 24 Sep 2017, 10:29 pm »
I’m in metro NY so there are a lot of distributors.  Sale price it pretty much wholesale.

Armaegis

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Re: Yummy Alfredo spaghetti sauce.
« Reply #14 on: 24 Sep 2017, 10:43 pm »
When I repair cables for people, I'm charging $30 or $40 at minimum. Maybe I only used a few pennies worth of heat shrink and solder, but there's still my time involved. Yeah sure if I was doing a cable splice for 20 people and had it all lined up, it'd maybe be half price since I could work in batches to improve time flow. This is all of course assuming that I have the tools and materials at home to work with. Maybe I need to order a couple small random parts; a buck or two here, but whoops there's that shipping fee from digikey. Oh darn I need a new tip for my soldering iron; there's another few bucks and my time and gas to head to the electronics shop halfway across town. And gosh darned I'd really like to have a pretty little thing to bring me all my supplies when I need them. That's gonna be more than a few bucks and maybe alimony payments down the road.

Life ain't cheap!

Rob Babcock

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Re: Yummy Alfredo spaghetti sauce.
« Reply #15 on: 25 Sep 2017, 04:36 am »
Well, as the executive chef of an Italian restaurant I have some opinions. :wink:  First off pasta is kind of a terrible thing to get a restaurant if you want value.  Even the best pasta is dirt cheap; food cost of a plate of fettuccine alfredo is maybe $2 or less.  But of course it's not just the cost of the pasta.  I have to pay my cooks to cook it.  The bank gets a payment of $50k every month on the loan.  There's insurance, worker's comp, water, garbage, electric, there's the 401k & health insurance, there's R&M (eg the walk-in breaks, the ice machine breaks, the dish machine breaks, etc).

Personally I'll eat out for various reasons.  Sometimes I'm wiped out after work and just need calories.  But aside from just needing food and being too lazy to make it, when I do eat out it's usually for one of two reasons.  I will go somewhere exceptional to get something that will wow me or I'm going out to eat something that's way too much of a PITA to make at home.  In the first instance that might be the Brazilian steakhouse in my hometown where Gauchos walk and carve from skewers tableside, or something like Alinea or some other high profile place with a truly brilliant chef.  Or to a good sushi place (it's pretty hard to duplicate sushi at home for lots of reasons, especially in South Dakota).  I guess that's kind of borderline into the second example- something too much of a pain.  I can make sushi but I would have to get all the fish flown in, I don't keep all the spices and condiments, fresh wasabi is nearly impossible to get, etc.  Good Chinese food is also a real pain to do at home depending on what it is. And of course it's not always practical to do real BBQ at home (depending on the weather and where you live).

I rarely eat pasta.  Partly it's because I made my bones in the restaurant biz as a saucier.  I spent 55+ hours a week doing saute for almost seven years so I got tired of seeing noodles.  But if I want to make alfredo I buy good dried pasta that was formed by running  through bronze dies, I cook it in water as salty as the ocean, and the sauce is just pepper, heavy cream, butter and cheese.  Cheese could be parm, reggiano, asiago, whatever I find that I like the looks of.

EDIT:  I will note that the other great reason to eat out is when I travel.  I love to get the local flavors of place I go.

WGH

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Re: Yummy Alfredo spaghetti sauce.
« Reply #16 on: 25 Sep 2017, 06:05 pm »

 I cook it in water as salty as the ocean...

I have read and heard this many times on cooking shows and still have no idea what it means. I live in the desert and have been to the Atlantic and Pacific oceans only a half dozen times, the water was too cold for swimming and I never scooped up a handful of water to taste it, maybe I should have.

Is there a recommended salt weight per quart of water?

roscoe65

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Re: Yummy Alfredo spaghetti sauce.
« Reply #17 on: 25 Sep 2017, 06:45 pm »
The amount is not super critical.  The water should taste salty, but not so salty you can't add some of it to the dish.  The basic rule is 2-4 tablespoons per gallon of pasta water.  This assures that the pasta itself is seasoned and you are not oversalting the sauce to compensate.

At the same time, a lot of cooks will use a little of the pasta water (which contains both salt and starch) to help loosen or tighten up the sauce.  The dissolved starch will help the sauce stick to the pasta.

Rob Babcock

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Re: Yummy Alfredo spaghetti sauce.
« Reply #18 on: 25 Sep 2017, 07:29 pm »
I've only been to the ocean a couple times myself. :P  It's a figure of speech.  You don't want it too salty of course but a couple TBSP to the water is about right.  I use a lot of water to cook pasta- at least a gallon even for a few servings.

jules

Re: Yummy Alfredo spaghetti sauce.
« Reply #19 on: 25 Sep 2017, 11:04 pm »
On the fettucine alfredo ... Obviously this is an incredibly rich dish and one that should be a treat rather than a regular part of your diet, so I'd suggest never paying less than $50 for a serve while insisting that all the ingredients be of the highest possible quality. At the same time the chef should add a touch of genius to make the exercise worthwhile.

Cooking shows have a lot to answer for in relation to justifying over-salting food. There is no such thing as the "correct amount" of salt or, as it's sometimes called "seasoning". If you reduce the amount of salt you use in your cooking gradually, you'll find you can just as easily be happy with the taste of your food with no added salt.

Salt is not a flavour or even "seasoning", it's a habit. I add no salt to cooking water for pasta or anything else.