Monday, February 28, 2011

Fettuccine Alfredo (low calorie)

Did you know that the original fettuccine Alfredo was made without cream - just butter and cheese? If you haven't had it, you should! It's delicious and not as heavy as the Americanized cream based version (though much pricier to make!).

Though I really prefer the cream-free version, sometimes my craving for fettuccine Alfredo and slim grocery budget opts for more of the Americanized version. This is a slimmed down recipe of a more Americanized alfredo sauce - it has a heavier weight than a butter and cheese version but not as heavy as one with heavy cream in it (in other words, we didn't feel blah afterwards!).

By using low fat cream cheese and low fat milk, instead of heavy cream, the calories are significantly less. Also, the noodles aren't swimming in sauce - they are just lightly coated. Enough to taste, but not enough to slurp!

We both really liked it, actually, and it was very quick. Perfect for a weeknight! Start to finish, about 15 minutes. Again, can't drive to Mickey D's that fast! Since it's meat free, it's also inexpensive - especially if you already have most of these ingredients on hand.

This recipe serves 4 and each serving is 490 calories (compared to almost twice that for most other versions!)

Fettuccine Alfredo
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
2 teaspoons all purpose flour
1 cup low fat (2%) milk
Kosher salt
2 tablespoons low fat Neufchatel or cream cheese (I used whipped since I had some on hand - melts great!)
3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more for topping
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
12 ounces fresh fettuccine (note: I could only find 9 oz packages so I just used that instead)
Freshly ground pepper

Make the sauce: Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and lemon zest and cook until the garlic is slightly soft, about 1 minute. Add in the flour and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, 1 minute. Whisk in the milk and 3/4 teaspoon salt and cook, whisking constantly, until just thickened, about 3 minutes. Add the cream cheese and parmesan cheese; whisk until melted, about 1 minute. Stir in the chopped parsley.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the fettuccine and cook until al dente, 2-3 minutes. Reserve 1 cup cooking water, then drain the pasta.

Add the pasta and 1/2 cup of the reserved cooking water to your sauce skillet and gently toss to combine, adding more water as needed to loosen. Season with salt.

Divide among bowls and top with parmesan and pepper.

Source: Food Network Magazine

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