- Joined Sep 17, 2018
That’s not the point I’m making at all. Cooking is highly flexible, and as long as it works, it works.
That said, an Alfredo is made with just cream, parm, and butter. A very good pasta sauce can be made with a bechemel refined with cream and parm. And I do this frequently, especially for catering. But this isn’t an Alfredo, you can call it what you like, an Alfredo-type sauce, for instance, or “Grunsday sauce” even.
The point I’m making is, what you call it makes a huge difference. Here’s another example: Hollandaise. Everyone knows holly is made with yolks, reduction, and butter. HOW it’s made is a different story. Yet I have made “ hollandaise” from a package, adding milk, or something else to a powder. And for a lot of catering applications this works well, particularly for long holding periods. Now, I can’t honestly call this stuff “Hollandaise”, and I’m guessing neither would you.
Here’s another point: I once worked for a guy who insisted on calling bought-in pastries “house made”. Pastries were good quality, but they had a very distinctive look to them that could only come from a production bakery, and were easily identifiable as such. O.k., kinda harmless, even though you could call him a freakin eejit, and laugh in his face. Then there was the guy who would purposely sub pork for veal in his schnitzels that he sold at a premium price.”They’ll never know the difference”, he used to say. O.k., this guy is knowingly cheating, a pork schnitzel is not a veal schnitzel.
So, yeah, I take names pretty seriously, if you’re going to sell an Alfredo, it should be made with just cream, parm, and butter. No one says you can’t sell a pasta with creamy bechemel, ( and I have, many, many times), but you can’t call it “Alfredo”.
I understand where you are coming from and I'd like to try and separate the topic and the examples you gave. I agree, as I'm sure a lot of chefs do that calling something like a protein one thing when it is another or marketing your products as made one way when they are not is dishonest and in some areas violations of truth in menus laws. That being said the issue at hand is not that the OP is completely using substituted products to make an alfredo sauce. He was simply wondering why some recipes would call for a bechamel base, which in fact contains most of the essential ingredients of said alfredo in one form or another. Simply adding an ingredients like a seasoning or in the case you made, flour, it is not unreasonable to still be classified or labeled if you will as an alfredo sauce. Adding a thickener is not a fair comparison to passing off manufactured pastries as home made or substituting pork for veal. It's understandable that you have your standards when it comes to ingredients for a recipes but even those are so vaguely defined. Would you consider a sauce made with milk instead of cream an alfredo? What about grated parmesan versus shredded? Does the cheese have to be aged? Using one of these things over the other does not instantaneously make it not an alfredo.
Also the context matters. In a perfect world maybe everyone could make pasta alfredo from scratch with premium ingredients to order. But is settings where you may have to bulk prep something you are probably going to thicken it. Maybe there are some chefs out there that do this but I have never seen a chef make gallons of sauce by just reducing the cream. It would be both time consuming and unnecessarily costly. If that is how you do it in applications than I am happy that you are in a position to do such cooking but for a lot of restaurants that would be serving something like a pasta alfredo to begin with on a regular basis this may not be appropriate.
Again I don't claim to have all the answers but I would think that to say something can never be labeled something else because of a simple ingredient addition or subtraction is a little stubborn.