So we all know the holidays can be pretty unforgiving when it comes to diet friendliness. I know for me it’s easy to say, well the holidays come just once a year, so I deserve to celebrate and indulge a little. I’ve earned it. Personally, I think we should indulge a little during the holidays, it gives us more reason to look forward to them. I’m also a believer in balance when it comes to eating. I like my healthy foods and I love my indulgent foods. The healthy ones keep me, well healthy, and the indulgent ones keep me happy. Does that make me an emotional eater :)? I’m a woman what can I say? Anyway, I love love love Fettuccine Alfredo, but with it’s heavy packing of calories and fats I don’t like to make it more than once a month. Yet, I do want it more than that so I decided to create a healthier sister recipe, a more figure friendly Light Fettuccine Alfredo. No this is not a fat free recipe. I think it would be impossible to make a fat free version because that would require the use of absolutely no Parmesan cheese, and we couldn’t considered that Fettuccine Alfredo now could we?
When creating this recipe, I decided I couldn’t omit the cream entirely. Rather, I replaced the majority of the cream used in your average Alfredo sauce with low-fat milk and just a few tablespoons of cream. I also reduced the amount of Parmesan compared to your average Alfredo sauce then added 1 tsp lemon juice to mimic the tang from the lack of additional Parmesan. The Neufchatel cheese was added to give the sauce a smooth, rich and creamy texture without upping the calorie and fat count significantly. Then to finish I garnished the coated pasta with fresh parsley to add some freshness and light sprinkling of Romano cheese to add one more layer of flavor (and I love the flavor pairing of Romano and Parmesan together so I couldn’t resist). The final calorie count of this dish is a fair and balanced 370 calories with 14 grams of fat which is so much less than it’s unhealthier competitor, yet it was seemingly just as creamy. Granted you may likely want more than 1 serving (I went with the serving size according to pasta serving size listed on the package) but even then, you are far better off than a full fat Alfredo. Enjoy!
Light Fettuccine Alfredo
Yield: Serves 4
- 8 oz . fettuccine pasta , uncooked
- 1 1/2 Tbsp butter
- 1 1/2 Tbsp flour
- 1 1/4 cups milk
- 2 Tbsp heavy cream
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp salt , or to taste
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder , to taste
- 1 1/2 oz . freshly , finely shredded Parmesan cheese (1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp slightly packed)
- 2 oz Neufchatel cheese (aka 1/3 less fat cream cheese), diced into cubes
- freshly ground white or black pepper , to taste
- chopped fresh parsley for garnish , optional
- finely shredded Romano cheese or more Parmesan for serving , optional (not added to calorie count)
Cook pasta according to directions listed on package. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan melt butter over medium heat. Once fully melted mix in flour and cook, whisking constantly for 2 minutes. Gradually add in a little milk at time, whisking vigorously until smooth after each addition. Stir in cream, lemon juice, salt and garlic powder. While stirring constantly to prevent lumps from forming, cook sauce until mixture thickens and begins to gently bubble.
Reduce heat to low, add in Parmesan cheese and Neufchatel cheese and stir until cheese has melted. Stir in a few tbsp pasta water to thin sauce if desired. Drain cooked pasta well (DO NOT rinse pasta with water or the pasta sauce wont stick) then pour drained pasta into sauce and toss to evenly coat. Serve immediately garnished with ground pepper, optional parsley and Romano cheese.