A Buttery Red Pepper Fettuccine Alfredo Recipe
Fettuccine Alfredo, in its purest form, is nothing more than pasta, butter, and Parmesan cheese. It's far from a paradigm of sound nutrition, but considerably better than the pasta that appears on American menus all over the country: a thick sludge of reduced heavy cream and a heap of noodles that, when combined, will chew up a full day of fat and the better part of your 24-hour caloric allowance. This version of the fettuccine Alfredo recipe starts with a béchamel sauce, then blends that with roasted red peppers to make for a lighter, brighter, better Alfredo—for a quarter of the calories.
Nutrition: 390 calories, 12 g fat (7 g saturated), 730 mg sodium
10 oz dried fettuccine
1 1⁄2 Tbsp butter
1 1⁄2 Tbsp flour
1 cup milk
1⁄2 cup half and half
3⁄4 cup chopped bottled roasted red peppers
2 cloves garlic, halved
1⁄2 cup grated Parmesan
Salt and black pepper to taste
How to Make It
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente (usually about 30 seconds to a minute less than the package instructions recommend).
- Meanwhile, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
- Stir in the flour and cook for a minute, until the two are fully incorporated. Slowly add the milk and half and half, whisking to help prevent lumps from forming.
- Add the red pepper and garlic.
- Turn the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Pour the mixture into a blender and purée until smooth and uniform in color.
- Return to the pan and stir in the Parmesan.
- Season with salt and pepper and simmer until the pasta is done cooking.
- Drain the pasta and add directly to the saucepan.
- Toss to coat evenly.
- Divide among 4 warm bowls or plates.
Eat This Tip
Consider this a base recipe, one that you can build on in dozens of different ways depending on your taste buds and mood. Any of these tweaks can be used to boost both flavor and nutrition:
- Stir 8 ounces of peeled raw shrimp into the sauce 2 minutes before adding the pasta, or 8 ounces of leftover chicken just as you add the pasta.
- After tossing the pasta and sauce, stir in 4 cups baby spinach and cook just until it begins to wilt, about 1 minute.
- Stir in 2 cups each sautéed mushrooms and roasted broccoli right before adding the pasta.