Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Fettucini Alfredo - the healthy way!

I love Alfredo sauce. I could eat it by the spoonful - right from the pan. But, of course, it isn't so helpful for my weight goals. After several attempts, I made a tasty and healthier version of this great comfort food! What I love, is that most of the ingredients are pantry staples, so you've got dinner anytime in about 30 minutes. The calories have been cut from 550 to just at 200 for the sauce. Fat grams have been cut from 35 grams a serving to around 12 a serving. What helps to make this lower calorie is the use of chicken broth to thin the sauce instead of half and half and heavy cream. Also using some white wine gives the dish a great rich tasting flavor. When paired with whole wheat pasta and some steamed broccoli, you've got a delicious meal and a non-guilty one too!

2 TBSP. olive oil
2 TBSP. whole wheat flour
3 cloves of garlic minced or chopped
1 cup of fat-free chicken broth
1 cup 1% or skim milk
1/2 cup dry white wine
3 TBSP. reduced fat cream cheese
1 TBSP. reduced fat sour cream
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper
Sun-dried tomatoes (optional)
Favorite pasta
Favorite add-ins (steamed broccoli, lump crab meat, grilled chicken, shrimp, etc.)

Heat olive oil in a large skillet and add chopped garlic over medium low heat.
Stir frequently so the garlic doesn't burn.
Once the garlic is lightly browned, stir in the flour. This is how you make a roux. This is the basis to all white cream sauces. I first learned how to make a roux at a cooking class in New Orleans. Being able to make my own roux, gave me power..made me super chef...then I woke up!

Let the flour and oil cook together for about 2 minutes. This makes sure the flour taste is cooked out. Don't cook on high heat, you don't want the roux to brown.
Add a cup of chicken broth and stir until well combined. The sauce is kind of brown in color. This is because I used whole wheat flour. If you use white flour, the sauce will be white, unless you cook your roux too long!
Once this starts to get thicker, add the cup of milk and stir until well combined.
Next add the white wine. This is my most favorite white wine in the whole world.
Pour a little, drink a lot! ;-))
At this point I added about 2/3 a cup of sun-dried tomatoes. I love the tangy taste of them in Alfredo sauce. If you don't love it...leave it out.
Once this starts to thicken, add the cream cheese and the sour cream. Stir until well combined and smooth.
Add the Parmesan cheese about a 1/3 a cup at a time and stir until well combined and the cheese is melted. You can grate your own, but I prefer the easy stuff! I've even used the stuff in the green can in a pinch!
If the sauce starts to get thick....mine ALWAYS does, add a little bit of chicken broth until it is the consistency you prefer. I normally have to add chicken broth about 2 - 3 times during the course of cooking, as I don't always time my noodles to be done when my sauce is!

I cooked a whole wheat fettuccine noodle to serve with the sauce, but I also like Penna pasta too. Whatever makes you happy!
Tonight, I served the pasta with steamed broccoli. To save time, I threw a bag of broccoli florets in with the pasta water when the pasta was just about done.
You can also serve it with chicken, shrimp, crab or other vegetables. Take the sauce and run with it! So glad there was enough for left overs!!!!!!

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