Well kids, it’s been quite rainy around here. Maybe it’s the universes’ of getting me ready for our move to McChord AFB in Washington. This kind of weather makes me crave stick to your ribs kind of food. Except it never sticks to my ribs, usually sticks closer to my rear. Anyway. I didn’t think I could get Grace to eat anymore chili, but I can always get her to eat noodles with cheese.
So, I got to work on this fettuccine alfredo recipe I found in the March 2011 issue of Food Network Magazine, in the ‘Lighten Up” section. I tried it the first time not because it was ‘light’ but because I was on the prowl for a homemade alfredo sauce that wasn’t grainy. I hate, hate being able to feel the flour when you eat it. This is the right combination of cream cheese and milk. Delicious. And, for all you moms out there, I can make it most of the way through the recipe before Jane starts to crawl around my ankles and demand attention. So it’s fast. I’ve added chicken and brocoli because my husband doesn’t believe a meal is a meal without protein. But you can leave it out. If you want.
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- zest of one lemon
- 2 teaspoons all purpose flour
- 1 cup low fat (1 or 2%) milk
- kosher salt
- 2 ounces Neufchatel or low fat cream cheese
- 3/4 Cup grated parmesan cheese
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 12 ounces fettucine
- 1-2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, baked or grilled, sliced into strips.
- 1 small or medium crown of brocoli, cut into pieces
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- lemon juice
- To make sauce: melt butter over medium heat, add garlic and lemon zest, cook until just soft, 1-2 minutes. Add flour, cook one minute, stirring constantly. With a whisk, stir flour mixture as you add the milk and salt. Whisk until just thickened, about 3 minutes. Add the cream cheese and parmesan cheese, whisk until melted, about one minute. Stir in chopped parsley.
- Meanwhile, bring large pot of salted water to boil. Add fettuccine and cook according to package directions. NOTE: set a timer to cook the pasta for the recommended time. When there are two minutes left, add the broccoli to the pasta water. Before draining noodles and broccoli, reserve one cup of pasta water.
- Add 1/2 cup of pasta water to cheese sauce, stir to incorporate. Add red pepper flakes and lemon juice to taste. Toss with hot pasta and brocoli. Add more pasta water as is necessary to loosen sauce. Serve immediately, with extra sprinkle of parmesan and parsley. Top with sliced chicken.