Retooled Alfredo still creamy but eases up on fat content

  • Associated Press
  • Tuesday, October 10, 2006 9:00pm
  • Life

A fast and low-fat fettuccine Alfredo that uses full-fat milk and cheese?

Sounds like a dream, and Cook’s Country magazine’s retooling of this artery-clogging classic tastes like one, too.

Most standard Alfredo recipes call for gobs of fat, including 1 1/2 cups of heavy cream, a stick of butter and 2 cups of cheese. For most people, that relegates this dish to an occasional indulgence.

And that’s a shame. Alfredo comes together quickly, relying on common ingredients and simple techniques, making it a great candidate for weeknight cooking.

Now Cook’s Country has made it a winning candidate, reducing the fat from 43 grams per serving to just 12 grams (and saturated fat goes from 27 grams to 6 grams). The trick was using a butter and flour roux, which provides the same mouth feel as thickened heavy cream, but with far less fat.

To help speed up this recipe, prepare the sauce while bringing the water to a boil.

1tablespoon unsalted butter

2teaspoons all-purpose flour

3/4cup whole milk

1/4cup half-and-half

1garlic clove, peeled and lightly crushed

1/2teaspoon salt, plus 1 tablespoon

1/2teaspoon black pepper

Pinch nutmeg

1cup grated Parmesan cheese

19-ounce package fresh fettuccine

Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot over high heat. Using a ladle, fill each of four serving bowls with about 1/2 cup boiling water. Set aside.

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, heat the butter over medium heat until foaming. Whisk in the flour until mixture is smooth and golden, 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk in the milk, half-and-half, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt, pepper and nutmeg. Bring to a simmer.

Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until sauce is slightly thickened, 1 to 2 minutes. Discard garlic, stir in Parmesan and remove from heat.

Stir pasta and remaining salt into the boiling water and cook, stirring constantly, until al dente, about 2 to 3 minutes. Reserve 1 cup pasta cooking water, then drain pasta.

Return sauce to low heat, add 1/3 cup pasta water and the cooked pasta. Toss until evenly coated. Cook until sauce has thickened slightly, about 1 minute. Add more water as needed to thin sauce to desired consistency and adjust seasonings.

Working quickly, empty the water from the warmed bowls and fill with pasta. Serve immediately.

Makes 4 first-course servings. Per serving: 320 cal., 12 g total fat (6 g saturated).

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