Vegan Alfredo Sauce – Leaning on science

I want to work on a vegan alfredo sauce recipe but come at it from a very food science-y angle. She’s always craving it and all the store bough and popular recipes suck.

They’re all cashew based, which is expensive; vegan parm based, which sucks and is also expensive; and they all use some kind of plant-based butter, which sucks. I want to avoid all that crap.

I started looking at the spectrometry olfactometry of parm and there are so many compounds that can be found in other basic ingredients. Red wine, ale and lager style beer, potatoes, etc.

This is the paper I’m referencing: Identification of Aroma Compounds in Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese by Gas Chromatography/Olfactometry

I’ve started by going through the tables in the olfactometry analysis and researching the compounds with aroma intensities of ‘Strong’ or ‘Very Strong’. I then find other foods and ingredients with high levels of the same compounds and add them to a list to start experimenting with.

The marketing/labelling of Vegan foods/recipes generally relies on the non-vegan counterpart. I want to avoid all that non-sense. Whatever I end up with will not be Alfredo Sauce. I don’t care if it’s a white sauce. All I care about is texture and flavour.

The original Alfredo Sauce was just three ingredients. Cheese, butter, pasta water[1]. The version I want to get closer to is the one served at The Octopus’ Garden in Alma, NB. Her favourite.

I haven’t spoken to the chef there, but their version, I suspect, relies on a butt-load of Parmigiano-Reggiano (perhaps a mix of additional similar hard cheeses), butter, cream, garlic, black pepper, and a roux. It’s a simple sauce. They might also use a little white wine.

Some random idea I had when I was still attached to the idea of making a white sauce:

Potato as a base. Flavourful. Thickening. Creamy. What happens if you keep cooking potato past that 'gloopy' state. Starch gradually looses it's thickening ability the more you cook it, see Light Roux vs. Chocolate Roux. No hits on google that I could find re: long cooked potato.


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