Thursday, October 16, 2014

Fettuccine Alfredo with Asparagus

I am finally back in the kitchen and committed to cooking regularly again, not only to provide myself with tasty lunches to take to work, but also to get a grip on relying too readily on picking up something to go on my way home from work.

As I mentioned in recent posts, I've been traveling a good bit and this has put me not only behind on cooking, but also far behind on my magazine perusals for new recipes. I follow a few blogs for recipes as well as my monthly Cooking Light subscription but it had been weeks since I'd given any of those a look. So this first recipe as I find my way back to cooking again is a simple, light version of fettuccine alfredo, which relies on a lighter cream sauce and the addition of vegetables to flesh out the flavor. This was quite good and relatively guilt-free.

Fettuccine Alfredo with Asparagus (serves 3-4)


  • 8 oz. uncooked fettuccine
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 lb. fresh asparagus spears, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 3/4 tsp. kosher salt, divided
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper, divided
  • 1 tsp. grated lemon rind
  • 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 TB butter
  • 1 TB vodka or water
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 oz. 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup fat-free milk
  • 1.5 oz. grated Parmesan cheese, about 6 TB
  • 1 TB chopped fresh chives  

  • Directions:

    Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain in a colander over a bowl. Reserve 1/4 cup pasta water. I find the best way to do this is to position a bowl directly below the colander.

    Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add asparagus, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; sauté 6 minutes or until crisp-tender. Remove from heat. Add rind and juice; toss. Keep warm.

    Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add vodka and garlic; cook 1 minute. Add cream cheese, stirring until smooth. Stir in milk, Parmesan cheese, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Be sure to stir this consistently at a steady temperature to avoid clumping. Stir in reserved pasta water, pasta, and asparagus; toss to coat noodles.

    Sprinkle with chives and serve. I enjoyed this with a fresh tomato salad.

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