There's one secret seasoning that your alfredo sauces are missing for an elevated, rich flavor, and it's probably already living in your pantry. Nutmeg is the secret to bringing out the natural creamy, deep flavor of your sauces. While it may seem an odd choice to be featured in a traditionally savory pasta dish, this spice has a long history of being used in decadent cream-based dishes. In fact, traditional béchamel, one of the mother sauces of French cuisine, often calls for a dash of it. The reason behind this is simple; cream sauces tend to lack flavor and feel a bit heavy due to the fat content. Nutmeg is a simple way to warm up the sauce with a subtle, spice flavor that won't overpower it.
Like with béchamel, you only need a pinch of nutmeg in your alfredo to improve its flavor. All it does is help round out the dish and bring back some of that robustness that can get lost in heavier, butter and cream-based dishes. Nutmeg isn't meant to be a starring flavor, you can think of it as a supporting actor for this dish. Freshly grated nutmeg works best as it packs the most aromatic punch with the least amount of product, but pre-grated nutmeg will also work. Dairy sauces do contain their own hint of sweetness from the lactose sugar present. And, honoring this flavor will help round out your dish and make the dairy work in your favor.
Read more: 26 Types Of Pasta Sauce Explained
Other Dishes That Can Benefit From A Dash Of Nutmeg
Nutmeg and cheese is another natural flavor pairing to experiment with. Next time you make a mac and cheese try adding a pinch of nutmeg to your cheese sauce to help bring out the different flavors present. Nutmeg works particularly well with varieties like white cheddar, gouda, and mozzarella. The spice will bring forth those cheese flavors, and in turn, highlight any other natural flavors your cheeses have.
A unique dish to incorporate nutmeg into is mashed potatoes. Like the other creamier dishes mentioned, mashed potatoes are a bit of a blank canvas when it comes to flavor. You can help deepen the flavor with a dash of nutmeg. Plus when you add in your butter, cream, and cheese, the nutmeg will help boost these as well. It balances against the saltier flavors you might find in a traditional mashed potato, and if you're someone who loves a good herby mashed potato the earthiness of nutmeg can help to bring these flavors out as well.
Read the original article on Tasting Table.