Thank you to everyone who commented and encouraged me as I worked through my exams. I finished my last one this morning, and that noise you just heard was a sigh of relief! I spent the rest of the day catching up with many of you on Christmas baking and preparing, packaging and Santa-ing, and am truly looking forward to a good post-exams nights sleep tonight. We'll be South-bound early tomorrow morning!
Since we're so far from our families, we have become creative with our Christmas traditions. Thankfully, some traditions remain untouched, like the cookies we (two adults) leave for Santa, but there are many more that have been abandoned or modified. When we first got married, we decided that we would always wake up in our own bed on Christmas morning. That went out the window as soon as we decided to move 12 (or more) hours away from everyone. Family is much more important than our "tradition!" A couple of years ago we decided to start a tradition of Christmas fettuccine (à la The Holiday), on Christmas eve. Well, I don't think that tradition is going to happen this year, although I am thrilled to be going to my home church for the beautiful candlelight Christmas eve service. While we will not be eating fettuccine on Christmas eve this year, we celebrated a bit early with the meal so it would not be completely missed.
This Fettuccine is jam packed with vegetables, making it closer to a Primavera than a simple Alfredo. This year, we made it extra rich by adding fresh crab. I thought the crab overwhelmed the dish a little bit, but my husband loved it and deemed it the best yet. Either way, it is a delicious celebratory dish, worthy of a yearly tradition.
12 oz fresh fettuccine
1 bunch broccoli, stems removed and cut into bite-sized pieces.
2 tablespoons butter
2 garlic cloves, minced
8 oz sliced wild mushrooms
5 oz fresh spinach
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups whole milk
1 cup vegetable broth
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
¼ teaspoon white pepper
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ cup Parmesan cheese
¼ cup Romano cheese
8 oz fresh crab (optional)
4 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
2 tablespoons fresh minced parsley
Before beginning, prepare all of the ingredients, as things move quickly.
In a large pot with a steamer insert, steam the broccoli for 8 minutes, or until tender. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook for 2 minutes. Add the spinach and cook until slightly wilted. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and cook for 1 more minute (the flour will clump a bit on the bottom of the pan and vegetables). Add the milk, broth, salt, peppers, and nutmeg, making sure to stir the bottom of the pan well. Cook for 6 more minutes, or until thick, stirring occasionally.
While the sauce is cooking, drain the steamed broccoli and add to the sauce. In the same pot, bring 1 quart of water and 1 teaspoon of salt to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to the package directions. Drain and keep warm.
When the sauce has thickened, stir in the cheese and crab (if using) and stir until the cheese has melted. Stir in all but ½ cup of the diced tomatoes. Serve the sauce over the pasta, and top with the remaining diced tomatoes and parsley.