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Why You Shouldn't Take Garlic Shortcuts With Copycat Olive Garden Alfredo Sauce

fettuccini alfredo
fettuccini alfredo - Yalcin Sonat/Shutterstock

When you're looking to add a burst of flavor to your food, nothing gets the job done quite like garlic. Acrid, yet versatile, you'd be hard-pressed to drum up a dish that couldn't benefit from its tasty influence. In some cases, garlic powder or pre-minced garlic is an acceptable substitute for the fresh stuff. But if you're not using real-deal garlic for recipe developer Jack Vigliotti's copycat Olive Garden Alfredo sauce, it might miss the mark.

The powerful pungency of chopped garlic can be attributed to high levels of allicin, a sulfurous compound released after fresh garlic is chopped. Made from dried and ground garlic cloves, garlic powder is excellent when used to punch up the flavor of soups and salad dressings, or as a seasoning for meat. But because the drying process deactivates the garlic's allicin content, powdered garlic is distinctively less flavorful than its fresh counterpart.

Made with butter, garlic, flour, milk, heavy cream, Parmesan cheese, and Romano cheese, garlic acts as one of the dominating flavors in Vigliotti's copycat sauce. Because freshly chopped garlic contains more of the flavor-bringing allium, it's the best option for mimicking the deliciousness of Olive Garden's Alfredo sauce.

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Fresh Is Always Best For Garlic

chopped garlic
chopped garlic - Снимаю, обрабатываю и выставляю свои фото только сам./Getty Images

While some believe you should never use minced garlic from a jar, many others use pre-minced garlic interchangeably with fresh cloves. When it comes to his copycat Alfredo sauce, Jack Vigliotti belongs to the former camp. To maintain some semblance of freshness, jars of minced garlic often contain water or oil. While the added moisture can be beneficial for some recipes, Vigliotti points out that, in this instance, it only works to dull the garlicky flavor of the dish. What's more, jarred garlic is exposed to high heat during the pasteurization process, which further lessens its potency.

Although using fresh garlic will always be the most effective way to get the most out of its strong flavor, in a pinch, garlic powder's allicin content can be restored with the addition of water. When drying garlic for garlic powder, the temperature is set in such a way as to deactivate the allicin without actually killing it. When water is reintroduced, however, the enzymes responsible for allicin production are restored, bringing back a waft of fresh garlic's former glory. If you're looking to revel in the glory of a true copycat alfredo sauce, take the time to use fresh garlic cloves.

Read the original article on Mashed.