Sunday, March 16, 2014

Spinach Fettuccine with Bacon Alfredo for an Eat Your Greens #SundaySupper

Spinach Fettuccine with Bacon Alfredo

My birthday falls around Thanksgiving each year so on Black Friday, instead of fighting crowds at the local shopping mall, I went to visit my parents to celebrate and brought my pasta roller with me. It had been a while since my folks ate pasta from scratch so I thought they'd appreciate the novelty of it. I note the event here because it was the first time I'd used the cutter attachment that came with the roller to make fettuccine. I had been advised against using it because it often does not cut all the way through the sheets however I was feeding four adults plus five hungry teenagers that evening and didn't want to cut it by hand. To my surprise, it worked better than I expected.

I hadn't touched my pasta roller since then and I was itching to make some lately. My #WeekdaySupper dish a couple of weeks ago provided the inspiration. In it, I used store-bought spinach fettuccine to save time but when I looked at the ingredients, spinach wasn't listed. I knew I could do better and seized the opportunity when I saw this week's #SundaySupper Movement theme of Eat Your Greens. This also allowed me to revisit my source for flavored pastas. Long time readers might remember I had trouble with it in the past. More on that later.

The Challenge

A balanced dish in flavor and texture. I got some assistance from The Flavor Bible which notes that bacon, cream, garlic and cheese are some of the foods that complement spinach well.

The Source

I took the pasta recipe from pages 102 to 104 of Cook Like A Rock Star by Anne Burrell with Suzanne Lenzer, but adapted it with the addition of spinach using the technique as described in this page. I also substituted some of the ingredients in this alfredo sauce from


For the pasta dough:
8 ounces spinach
2 pinches kosher salt, divided
3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more if needed
4 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons water

For the alfredo:
4 ounces (1 slice=1 ounce) bacon, cut into batons
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 cup heavy cream
2/3 cup grated parmesan
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper.


1. Make the pasta dough: Coarsely chop the spinach, then wash it thoroughly. Heat the spinach in a pan over medium heat with just the water stuck to the leaves from being washed with 1 pinch kosher salt to wilt, approximately 5 minutes.

Remove it from the heat and let it cool. Once the spinach is cool enough to handle, wrap the spinach in several layers of paper towels and squeeze out the excess water. Blend the spinach, then add it to the egg, egg yolk, olive oil and water and combine. Make the pasta dough, as described in step 1 from this previous ravioli dish.

2. Roll the pasta dough as described in step 2 of the ravioli dish above, then cut the pasta sheets into fettuccine. Bring a large pot of well salted water to a boil over high heat and drop the fettuccine into the water. Once it floats to the top, it's done, remove and set aside while you prepare the sauce, about a minute or two. Reserve at least 1 cup of the pasta water.

3. Prepare the alfredo and finish the dish: In a large skillet, render the bacon fat over medium heat until the bacon is crisp, approximately 4 minutes. Remove the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate, then add garlic and flour to the bacon fat, stirring continually for about a minute. Do not allow the flour to brown. Stir in the cream gradually until the mixture thickens slightly, approximately 2 minutes. Slowly add the cheese until melted, then season with salt and pepper if needed. Add the reserved fettuccine and toss to combine. Serve in warmed bowls and garnish with the bacon.


As I'm gaining more experience with pasta dough, I'm finding that they are like humans because each one is unique and this one definitely fit this generalization. A reader pointed out after I had described my problems with the herbed pasta that it was too dry which is why I like Chef Burrell's ratios of liquid to flour. In this particular instance, it was almost too wet because I had to additional flour in amounts that are greater than previous experiences as I was rolling the dough and I had difficulty separating the strands of fettuccine once passed through the cutter. From a flavor standpoint, the spinach flavor was much stronger than the store bought version and the bacon provided a nice contrast of texture to the dish.

On a side note, I'm a little confused as to what constitutes an alfredo sauce. I've been told that if you go to Italy, it's just scalded cream, but I found many versions online that used a béchamel as a base, such as this one. I also profiled an alfredo last year that relied upon cheese instead of a roux to thicken the sauce, so I must leave by asking, what's authentic?

Other Sunday Supper Participants

Before I go, please visit the other participating bloggers in this week's #SundaySupper event:

Green Light Appetizers and Sides
Getting Greens Through Salads
Entreés That Will Leave You Green With Envy
Desserts and Beverages That Will Make Others Turn Green

Join the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET.  Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. Check out our #SundaySupper Pinterest board for more fabulous recipes and food photos.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.


  1. I'm not a trained chef, DB, so I can't comment as to what's authentic. But, I can confidently say that your spinach fettuccine looks genuinely delicious. How great that you were able to make the spinach flavor sing.

    P.s. Your parents are lucky to have such a talented chef in the family =)

  2. Spinach pasta is one of my favourite and I do make it quite often. For 4 persons I use 2 or 3 eggs, 5.25 oz. spinach, wilted in salty water and well squeezed and about 10.5 oz. (or more) flour. I start with 2 eggs and then beat the 3rd egg and add it little by little if required. Unfortunately there are no standard proportions as they depend on how big the eggs are and how much water your spinach absorb. I use a classic Italian recipe for the dough, The dough has to be tough and not wet (unlike pizza/bread dough) so that you can shape your pasta easily and so that when it cooks it does not become mushy. Hope it helps :-)
    As per "Alfredo Sauce"... it does not exist in Italy. We do use cream with pasta, but what is known as "Alfredo" outside of Italy is unknown in Italy, so I cannot help you with it. :-(

  3. BACON ALFREDO?!?! Oh my! You might even get me to eat some of my least favorite green things (brussels sprouts) if you cover it with bacon alfredo!

  4. This dish is my elder daughter's birthday request every single year. I make the cream sauce, starting with a butter/flour roux, then add some fresh garlic and Parmesan in copious quantities. I love that you made fresh spinach pasta, DB. What a glorious color it turned out! Thank you so much for hosting this great theme.

  5. DB,
    you made spinach fettuccine?! You seriously rock. I'm trying my hand at homemade pasta in a few months. My friend had 2 pasta makers and gave me one. Your pasta dough looks fabulous and the final dish looks absolutely delicious! What's authentic? very hard question because us Americans know it as something else.

    I just googled it and found this: "Cooking The Roman Way by David Downie, Fettucine Alfredo is a traditional Roman recipe called "pasta del cornuti" (cuckold's pasta). What either Alfredo Di Lelio III, or Mario Mozzetti, depending on whom you believe, invented in 1914, was the dramatic tableside preparation of Fettuccine Alfredo, which is what made the dish a hit with visiting Americans in the 20's and 30's. Again, according to Downie, the only ingredients of Fettuccine Alfredo are egg fettuccine, lots of butter, lots of Parmegiano-Reggiano, and (if necessary) a little salt.

    Recipes which add cream or milk are Americanized recipes designed to allow restaurants to hold orders of Alfredo for a long time under heat lamps (and turn it into a gooey pasty mess). Italians, from my experience visiting Italy, rarely put cream or milk on pasta (a real Italian could speak up here). Fettuccine Alfredo, in its traditional form, it has only egg pasta, butter, and cheese. The pasta for Alfredo is egg fettuccine."

  6. I think it's awesome that you made your own spinach pasta! I can just imagine the amazing flavor. And bacon alfredo sounds spectacular! As for what constitutes authentic alfredo sauce, I do not know. I make my alfredo sauce with Mexican crema, which is very similar to creme fraiche.

    Thank you so much for hosting #SundaySupper this week!

  7. This dish has absolutely EVERY ONE of my favorite foods in it, DB! Spinach, bacon, and a great alfredo sauce! YUM <3
    Oh, and to help you #FeedYourSpirt, here's what I learned in culinary school:
    Alfredo sauce is a "secondary sauce", with it's "mother sauce" being Bechamel.
    There are 5 mother sauces: Bechamel, Velouté, Espagnole, Hollandaise, and Tomato from which you can make countless varieties of secondary sauces. :) Bon appetit!

  8. I don't think you can go wrong with spinach, bacon and heavy cream. There is just no way! Your pasta looks delicious and I love that you made it from scratch! Such a great recipe. I'm pinning it :) Thanks so much!
    Renee - Kudos Kitchen

  9. I am seriously, drooling over here. This looks fantastic. Thank you so much for hosting this week's fabulous event!

  10. Holy Moly! Homemade pasta and alfredo and bacon! You out did your self with is recipe! My Husband would love it! This is just amazing! Thank you for sharing!!

  11. First of all, thanks for hosting the event today. I'm loving all the "green". I've just recently subscribed to your site, so getting to know you better with each post. I really appreciate this recipe for the pasta, as the only green pasta I've ever had has been purchased and I've always wanted to make it at home. I also have the book The Flavor Bible and think it's an invaluable tool in my kitchen. And last but not least, bacon Alfredo????? Get out! and yes please! Sounds absolutely wonderful. Thanks for the recipe. Pinned.

  12. I love your story as much as your dish. Ok, bacon ROCKS in anything, but I think combining it with spinach pasta is perfect. I am beyond impressed that it was no big deal for you to prepare fresh pasta for that size crowd!

    Thanks so much DB for being such a terrific host this week!!

  13. Your pasta turned out a great color! Of course this makes me want to double check the ingredients next time I pick up spinach pasta. I almost always buy it at the farmer's market though, so if they are cheating me out of spinach I'm going to be mad! Also anything with bacon is a win. Thanks for hosting this week!

  14. I've never made pasta from scratch, but it's on my bucket list! I may have to whip up this bacon alfredo very soon and use some fresh spinach pasta from my local gourmet market.

  15. Pretty scary that the store bought spinach pasta didn't have spinach in it. Your homemade pasta looks perfect. I once heard Rachael Ray say that traditional alfredo is only butter and parmesan. My mom used to make it for me with butter, cream, and lots of parmesan.

  16. Fantastic recipe! Definitely want to give this a try, great job :)

    Happy Blogging!
    Happy Valley Chow

  17. Thanks so much for hosting this week - the addition of bacon to this dish is the proverbial cherry on top!

  18. Bacon always makes the greens go over easier in my house. Looks great. Thanks for hosting this week -- so many great greens!

  19. After making your own pasta, it really makes you never want the boxed kind ever again. Your spinach fettuccine looks delicious!


    With reference of your article I have the pleasure to tell you the history of my grandfather Alfredo Di Lelio, who is the creator of “fettuccine all’Alfredo” in 1908 in restaurant run by his mother Angelina in Rome, Piazza Rosa (Piazza disappeared in 1910 following the construction of the Galleria Colonna / Sordi).
    Alfredo di Lelio opened the restaurant “Alfredo” in 1914 in Rome, after leaving the restaurant of his mother Angelina.
    In 1943, during the war, Di Lelio sold the restaurant to others outside his family.
    In 1950 Alfredo Di Lelio decided to reopen with his son Armando his restaurant in Piazza Augusto Imperatore n.30 "Il Vero Alfredo" (“Alfredo di Roma”), whose fame in the world has been strengthened by his nephew Alfredo and that now managed by his nephew Ines, with the famous “gold cutlery” (fork and spoon gold) donated in 1927 by two well-known American actors Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks (in gratitude for the hospitality).
    See also the website of “Il Vero Alfredo” .
    I must clarify that other restaurants "Alfredo" in Rome do not belong to the family tradition of "Il Vero Alfredo – Alfredo di Roma" in Rome.
    I inform you that the restaurant “Il Vero Alfredo –Alfredo di Roma” is in the registry of “Historic Shops of Excellence” of the City of Rome Capitale.
    Best regards Ines Di Lelio

  21. Creative way to get greens into a dish! Looks like a great combination.

  22. What a warming rich dish for a snowy saint patrick's day here in DE-land - Delaware Girl Eats

  23. I never think the boxed spinach pasta is spinach-y enough, so I would love yours! Thank you for hosting us this week!

  24. Great recipe! Thanks for hosting this week!

  25. Thanks for hosting this week - your recipe looks delicious! Everything with bacon is yum in my book :)

  26. I love homemade pasta! I just bought a pasta maker so I'll be making my very own soon!

  27. DB, I always love reading your posts. I'm in awe of you for always trying new things and giving us all the details on how it turned out. Your dish looks delicious! Kudos on making the spinach pasta. Homemade is always better than the dried stuff. I have no idea what makes an authentic alfredo sauce. What I can say is that I always love eating it, no matter how it was prepared, cause you just can't beat creamy, cheesy sauce over carbs.

  28. I see you brought your A game to the party! As always, you've done a great job hosting! I'm still wrapping my head around the packaged spinach pasta that had no spinach in it ... sure does pay to read labels! This sounds unbelievably decadent!

  29. 1. Thank you so much for hosting!
    2. This looks and sounds just divine. I mean, bacon alfredo??? Yes, please!
    3. I got a pasta roller (the Kitchen Aid stand mixer attachment kind) a few months ago, and I'm still very inexperienced with it, but the batch I made was beyond delicious. Ugly as hell, but so tasty. And I love having a recipe for spinach pasta, so I'm definitely pinning this. Thanks!

  30. Kudos on making the pasta yourself. I always respect people who do that. My mom used to make her own paste/noodles too but I've never gone down that route.This recipe sounds like a winner.


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