Every Friday night, one of my children cooks with me. I can get the girls cooking with me most any night, but not the boys. They’d rather be digging, building or getting into trouble. So our Friday night tradition is my way of making certain our boys grow up with the ability to prepare at least a handful of their favorite dishes. And it’s working. The chosen child gets to choose the meal and a dessert, help prepare it and set the table with china dishes. It’s special, complicated, messy and fun, and each child looks forward to “their night.” Out of my five children, three of them chose this for dinner over the past five weeks.
We make Chicken Alfredo with homemade noodles – that’s a big part of the fun at our house – and we use the egg whites leftover from the Alfredo sauce to make the noodles. If you prefer, save your egg whites for a lemon meringue pie, and use store-bought noodles instead. Just know that you’re missing a home-made delight!
1 whole chicken
4 carrots, peeled and cut into short sticks
1 head broccoli, chopped (keep the stem pieces separate from the flowerettes)
For the sauce:
2 cups cream
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
3 oz Parmesan cheese, finely grated
4 egg yolks
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Rinse the chicken and pat dry. Rub with butter, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and bake in an uncovered casserole dish for about 2 hours.
While the chicken is baking, prepare the noodles and get some water boiling to cook them.
To make the sauce: Pour the cream into a medium saucepan, and warm gently over medium heat. Add the butter, and cook until melted. While stirring with a wire whisk, add the grated Parmesan cheese and allow to melt.
You need to be very careful when adding the egg yolks. If the sauce gets too hot, the eggs will curdle, like scrambled eggs. Start by stirring a little of the sauce into the egg yolks. Then pour the yolks into the sauce and whisk, while continuing to cook over medium heat until the sauce thickens. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper. (If your eggs happen to curdle, you can still save the sauce. Either strain it to remove the bits of egg or puree the sauce in a blender.)
Steam the carrots and broccoli:
To steam the vegetables, place the broccoli stem pieces and carrot sticks in a steamer basket over a pot of boiling water. Steam them for 5 minutes before adding the flowerettes; then steam for 5 more minutes. This keeps the flowerettes from getting overcooked.
When everything is finished, serve noodles onto individual plates, top with steamed vegetables, slices of chicken and ladle sauce over the top.
Serves 4 – 6.