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Pie Talk #11: Fettuccine Alfredo

Brooklyn Heights in the '70s: Boarding houses, gay bars, Paula Fox, and pasta

Hello Pie Eaters - Some of you may know I have a podcast called Smoke ‘Em If You Got ‘Em. In addition to several episodes a week with Dallas-based journalist Sarah Hepola, I post a Sunday morning Pie Talk, various blah-blah plus recipe.

This week for the first time, I decided to do it on video… and accidentally recorded it on this Substack. A little break from posts about Portland and murder, which alas, ever offer opportunity to write. And about that: Thank you to all the new subscribers here who, through your paid subscriptions, help keep me on the Portland story.

Speaking of, I am listening right now to a limited series podcast from The Oregonian, “The Unidentifieds.” Very sad and quite good.


Episode notes:

Brooklyn Heights

New documentary produced by the one who lied about the green pepper allergy, and my best friend since age two.

Desperate Characters, by Paula Fox, takes place in the Heights. First published in 1970, I did not read it until maybe 30 years later and recognized what was going on in these brownstones and marriages in a way that made me feel amazed and frightened. Too close, too close… I do not recall the circumstances but I wound up having a lovely phone conversation with Fox, about her work and the Heights, shortly before her death in 2017, during which she over-complimented my forthcoming book. (This was exceedingly generous, considering she had not read it.) I also highly recommend her memoir, Borrowed Finery.

Pic I took of my daughter taking pics on the Promenade

The Queens of Montague Street, by Nancy Rommelmann

Why So Many Celebrities Are Moving to Brooklyn Heights,” by Steven Kurutz (New York Times)

Things to Do in Brooklyn Heights” has some pretty good pics and some good history, including about Montero’s Bar on Atlantic Ave., owned by the parents of Frank Montero, the first boy who ever kissed me. He’s an attorney now; the bar is still going strong and run by his older brother. I stopped in last month.

L’Appartement 4F, new bakery in Brooklyn Heights.

Victoria! NYC bar

Stock photo of fettuccine Alfredo. I’m not sure if they serve this at Parm, but I know they serve some of the best eggplant Parmesan I’ve had. Heading there for lunch!

Fettuccine Alfredo

  • 2 egg yolks

  • 3 tablespoons warm water

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, divided

  • 2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter

  • 1 cup freshly grated parmesan

In a medium-size bowl, beat yolks with a fork. Beat in water and salt. Add one cup flour, 1/3 cup at a time and stir until combined.

Sprinkle large cutting board with 1/4 cup flour. Knead pasta dough for 3 minutes, adding as much as an additional 1/4 cup of flour to keep the dough from sticking. Gather dough into a ball and cover with with a large bowl you’ve warmed with warm water. Let rest 30 minutes.

Dust cutting board with flour and roll dough as thin as possible. Sprinkle with a little flour and cut with a very sharp knife into strands. (I recall cutting mine about 8-inches by one-half inch but you can choose your size.) Lightly flour the strands and let dry at least 30 minutes before cooking.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add fettuccine, and cook until tender, about 8 minutes.

Drain and place fettuccine in a serving bowl. Add butter in small pieces. Once melted, add cheese and toss. This is extra-delicious with lots of freshly ground black pepper.


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Nancy Rommelmann