Fettuccine Alfredo is like one of my favorite Italian dishes, but I never actually order it due to the unforeseen amount of calories.
On a recent trip to California, my sister, niece, nephew, and I went to dinner, and as soon as I saw Fettuccine Alfredo on the menu, I begged someone to split this indulgently rich dish with me. My niece complied. I love her even more now. And boy was it worth every single artery clogging bite.
The fettuccine (shown below) was drenched in lots of cream and butter and then topped off with parsley and parmesan-reggiano. After every bite, I had cream all over my lips, yes, that’s how creamy it was. Ooooh… I salivate just thinking about it.
And then one cold winter afternoon I was in need of some comfort food, and so I made Spinach Linguine Alfredo.
In my version of this classy dish, I used 2 tablespoons of butter instead of a stick of butter, a little flour to help thicken the sauce, reduced-fat milk instead of cream, and whole grain pasta instead of white pasta. An addition of spinach added some health benefits to this ridiculously delicious dish.
The results were fantastic, and believe me when I say you won’t miss the real thing, and you will still have alfredo sauce all over your lips after each bite.
Well, isn’t that the point? Indulge!
NUTRITION: Milk and Cheese are an excellent source of Calcium and Protein. Although high in fat, cheese is good for you, but should be eaten in moderation. Spinach is loaded with tons of nutrients. It is rich in Vitamins A, C, and K, and is an excellent source of Iron and Folic Acid. Spinach also contains small amounts of Omega 3 fatty acids.
- Barilla Whole Grain Linguine – 1 pound box
- Unsalted Butter – 2 tbsp
- All Purpose White Flour – 2 tbsp
- Reduced-Fat 2% Milk – 2 1/2 cups (you may also try Low-Fat 1% – works well)
- Garlic – 2 cloves
- Black Pepper – 1 tsp
- Salt – 1 tsp (more if need be)
- Crushed Red Pepper Flakes – 1/2 tsp + garnish (if you can’t handle heat, use 1/4 tsp or skip)
- Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese – 1 cup (for the sauce) + 1/2 cup (for later)
- Frozen Spinach – 1 (10 ounce) package (microwaved or cooked)
1. Start by bringing a pot of hot water to a boil for the pasta.
2. Follow the instructions of a frozen spinach packet and microwave/cook the spinach. Squeeze out the excess water and set aside.
3. Remove the skin off 2 cloves of garlic, DO NOT CHOP, just leave the cloves as whole. Set aside.
4. Heat a pot on low-medium heat, add 2 tablespoons of butter. It will slowly melt.
5. Once the butter completely melts, add flour. Whisk it all together for a minute, this will help form a roux. The flour should be cooked and you should be able to smell the mixture.
6. Add milk. Whisk some more to make sure the roux doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot.
7. Drop the cloves of garlic.
8. Add black pepper and salt.
9. Add crushed red pepper. Whisk and let the milk heat up on low-medium heat.
10. Grate the parmesan cheese, however check on the milk every few minutes to prevent the milk from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
11. Check on the pasta water… follow the instructions on the box and add the pasta.
12. Back to the sauce. Fetch out the 2 cloves of garlic. Note the sauce is slightly thick.
13. Add 1 cup of parmesan cheese for now.
14. Add the microwaved spinach. Mix it all in. Check for seasonings at this point.
15. Once the pasta is cooked, drain it completely and add it to the sauce.
17. Add another 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese based on your taste.
18. Toss some more.
19. Let it sit about 15-20 minutes before serving. The sauce will thicken up and all the flavors will come together. Insanely good!
TELL ME: What’s your favorite “fattening” restaurant dish that you NEVER seem to order due to the unforeseen calories?