Judging by my fair skin and blue eyes, you can probably see I’m not even remotely Italian. I’m Swedish with a little stiff-ass Brit thrown in for good measure – which, between you and me, explains a few things…
I don’t remember ever eating Parmesan cheese growing up that didn’t come from a green can, and I
hated didn’t really like it. It was weird and, like the whipped cream at Starbucks that won’t melt, highly unnatural.
That being said, I have always loved Fettuccini Alfredo.
Shortly after I got married, I decided that my ability to bake anything that involved sugar, butter, chocolate, and/or copious amounts of cream was not enough to sustain me through my adult life. I wanted to learn to “cook.” You know, stuff that didn’t have chocolate in it…Crazy, I know!
Alfredo was one of the first recipes I attempted. Let’s just say it was um…gross. That’s the word I’m looking for. Like I said, that stuff from the green can doesn’t melt. Like at all… I had this bowl of pasta floating in cream with little flakes of white stuff that looked like dandruff floating in it. Ugh.
Needless to say, we went out to dinner that night!
Years later, once I had developed an appreciation for REAL Parmesan cheese, that does in fact melt, I decided to try it again.
I still love Alfredo, but it fills me with this insane guilt every time I eat it. I’m seriously convinced that my butt actually grows while eating it. Then I start weighing how many stomach crunches and miles of bike riding I’d need to do to work it off, decide it’s not worth it, and eat something else entirely. (Usually ending with chocolate – not sure how I manage to logic that one out!)
By now I was on a mission to find an Alfredo that tasted like Alfredo without that dense heaviness. Somehow throwing in some spring vegetables eases some of the guilt as well. My husband calls it girl math – the veggies cancel out the fat from the cream. Whatever. It totally works for me.
Be warned, when finished it will appear thin, still very much like cream, and not AT ALL like that crapola that comes out of a jar. (Not being a snob, because I do admit to eating that on occasion when I’m lazy.) TRUST ME. Pour it over your pasta and taste it! It has all of the flavor, without that heaviness. And you can always sprinkle a little more Parmesan over the top if you’re feeling wild like that…
Light Spring Vegetable Fettuccini Alfredo
- 8 oz. fettuccini, cooked al dente
- 1 c. half and half
- 6 tbs. butter
- ½ c. grated parmesan (NOT FROM A GREEN CAN)
- 8 oz. assorted steamed spring vegetables
Prepare pasta al dente according to package directions, and steam vegetables.
Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan or sauté pan, bring half and half and butter to a simmer over medium-low heat. Make sure you don’t boil it.
Drain pasta and vegetables and place in a large bowl. Add parmesan to cream mixture and stir. Pour Alfredo sauce over pasta and vegetables and toss gently to coat.