When I think about a romantic dinner for two, my mind immediately drifts to that famous Bella Notte scene in Lady and the Tramp. I just love how those two infatuated pooches interact with each other. She flutters her eyes at him, and he offers her a bashful smile. And then the Italian chef brings out their food and breaks into song in his native language while the staff swoons in the background. It’s such a sweet scene, and it epitomizes everything worthwhile and amazing about a budding romance.
Each time I watch Lady and the Tramp, I get all sappy and girly. And I can’t help but think about the first real date Big Daddy and I went on at a real restaurant some twenty-five years ago. Prior to this grown-up date, the majority of our meals were eaten in the cafeteria on campus at West Virginia University when I would come up from Wake Forest to visit him. A date at a real life sit-down Italian restaurant was a big deal in our very own budding romance. I was so gaga over Big Daddy, formerly known as Scott. It was those dern eyes! He had (still has) the most beautiful eyes. They were (are) gray with a lavender tint, rimmed in black and scattered with a few gold flecks. I hate to admit it, but those eyes had power over me. And I didn’t like it. I tried my best not to stare at them because the last thing I wanted was for Scott to know exactly how much I liked him. He was so sweet and said all the right things. He made me feel so special, and I knew that night he was going to be my husband, even though I wouldn’t let him call me his girlfriend. (What can I say, I have control issues.)
When it came time to order dinner, I really wanted the chicken parmesan. It looked and smelled so good at a neighboring table, but I didn’t want to get red sauce on my white dress. So I went with the fettuccine alfredo instead. And let me tell you, that was the best fettuccine alfredo I’d ever had in my life! For a moment, I almost forgot all about Scott and his pretty eyes. The pasta was fresh, and the sauce was creamy, cheesy and buttery. I wanted to lick my plate. I was in heaven, and it didn’t hurt that I had a cute guy keeping me company. The only thing missing from out magical dinner was a jovial chef belting out a romantic love song in Italian.
Let me know when you make this recipe. Take a picture and hashtag it #QUEENCITYKITCHEN. I can’t wait to see what you post!
Makes 8 servings
1 (16-ounce) box fettuccine
1 cup heavy cream
½ cup chicken stock
1 large egg yolk
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup Parmesan cheese
⅛ teaspoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, according to the package directions. Drain the pasta in a colander, reserving ½ cup pasta water. Set the pasta aside and keep warm.
Whisk the cream, chicken stock, and egg yolk in a medium bowl until combined. Heat a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the cream mixture, reserved pasta water, butter, garlic, and half of the cheese. Bring the sauce to a low simmer and cook until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Transfer the fettuccine to the skillet, tossing with tongs to coat. Remove the pasta from the heat and toss with the remaining cheese. Sprinkle with the chopped parsley and serve.