Have you heard of engagement chicken? The famed recipe has circled magazines and the internet for years, and the story surrounding it involves a woman awaiting a proposal who roasted a chicken for dinner hoping to encourage her boyfriend to pop the question. While that's sweet and all, times have definitely changed. No one needs to sit around waiting for someone to propose now! However, years ago, I whipped up a recipe that led to an unexpected marriage proposal. The details are different, as I wasn't anxiously awaiting the question, but the results were the same. What did I make? Pasta with a creamy, garlicky bacon Alfredo sauce.
The sauce is a hybrid between a carbonara and an Alfredo. It borrows the bacon and caramelized onions from the former while skipping the eggs and adding cream for a decidedly decadent twist. The recipe comes together easily, and the ingredients are flexible and adaptive to low-carb, gluten-free, and vegetarian diets. It's just as delicious over zucchini noodles, and the bacon can be omitted to make this a spectacular meatless option. No matter how you choose to adapt it, it just might make you do big things too! See the full recipe below.
Don't be afraid to mix this recipe up and use what you have. Fontina and asiago cheeses work beautifully in this dish. If using bacon, center-cut is best.
1 stick of butter
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup garlic powder
3/4 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 cup Romano cheese
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon black pepper
16-ounce box of dry fettuccine noodles
Sea salt (for water)
7 slices of center-cut bacon
1/2 sweet onion, diced
- Set your oven to 400°F.
- Line a sheet pan with parchment paper (foil also works). Place 7 strips of bacon on the parchment on the left side of the pan, and add diced onions to the right side of the pan.
- Place in the oven and cook for about 15-20 minutes. (Make sure to watch your onions and stir as needed. If the bacon completes cooking first, remove it from pan with tongs and drain it on a paper towel while the onions finish up. The onions should be lightly brown to optimize sweetness.)
- Cook both until done, then drain them on a paper towel when complete.
- When cool enough to handle, tear the bacon into pieces. Set it aside.
- Bring a large pot of water to boil and salt as a rolling boil begins. Add the pasta when the water is boiling vigorously.
- Cook in accordance with package directions.
- Drain the pasta when al dente.
- In a metal saucepan, begin melting the butter over medium-low heat.
- After the butter has melted, add in the heavy cream. Allow the mixture to come together in a soft bubbling boil.
- Add in the cheeses. Stir until everything is melted and combined.
- Add in the pepper, garlic, and nutmeg. Keep it on medium-low heat.
- The sauce will thicken. Continue to cook until the pasta is complete.
- Pour the cream sauce over the cooked and drained pasta. Combine.
- Add in the onions and bacon. Stir.
- Taste and add salt as needed. Bacon is naturally salty, so the amount of salt you need is a personal choice. Reserving it for the end is best.
- Let the pasta rest for 5 minutes. Serve and enjoy!