Thursday, February 16, 2012

Fettuccine Alfredo with Shrimp

My friend Shannon challenged me to makeover the decadent, and often off-limits, pasta favorite, Alfredo sauce. Of course, I’m always up for a challenge and any reason to be able to eat something creamy and delicious!

I have tried…and tried…to make an Alfredo sauce that actually tasted like it’s supposed to without tasting chalky, flour-y, or just plain milky…big props to Hubby for at least trying my past not-so-delicious attempts. But like The Little Engine That Could…I kept trying…and I FINALLY got it! I found this little gem and revised it from Cooking Light. And I literally had to tell myself (out loud) to stop after one portion and it was hard! But you can feel good about this one. If you’re not a seafood person, you can serve this primavera style with broccoli, mushrooms, zucchini and red peppers, sub the shrimp for chicken, or just serve it over your favorite pasta.

Not only was this delicious, it was super-fast and easy, so no need to wait for the weekend – make it Alfredo Thursday!

Note: Best to have all your ingredients ready before you begin; I told you it was fast and easy!

Ingredients:
1 package (9 oz) refrigerated pasta like fettuccine, or try a whole wheat option for an even healthier version
1 lb medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp olive oil
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese (I grated my own, but you could even use the powdery kind you probably already have in your fridge…I’m sure true “foodies” just gasped at that comment but we’re busy people!)
1/3 cup fat free half and half
3 T 1/3 less fat cream cheese (I wouldn’t use fat free for this one; it doesn’t melt very well)
¼ tsp fresh ground pepper
Dried red pepper flakes and grated Parmesan, for taste

Please note: This recipe makes just enough sauce to coat the ingredients...if you're looking for a creamier option, just double the sauce ingredients before you begin. If you're counting calories, this would add approx. 100 calories/serving.

Cook pasta according to directions without salt or oil. Drain pasta, reserving ¼ cup of the pasta water.

In a separate bowl, combine shrimp and garlic. Heat a large skillet over med/high heat. Add olive oil and swirl to coat the pan. Add the shrimp and sauté for about 4minutes or until shrimp are pink all over. Remove from pan and cover with foil to keep warm.

Note: If you are not adding shrimp, you can saute your veggies and/or chicken the same way: toss with garlic add to pan.

In the same pan, reduce heat to medium. Add pasta water, Parmesan cheese, half & half, cream cheese and black pepper. Simmer about 2 minutes or until cheeses are combined. Add drained pasta and shrimp to sauce and mix. Sprinkle with red pepper and more Parmesan, to taste. Serve with steamed veggies like broccoli or asparagus.

Now, I have a challenge for you: serve this to your loved ones and see if they can tell that it’s a lighter, healthier version…

Serves 4.
Per serving: Calories 398 / Carbs 36g / Fat 11g / Protein 37g / Fiber 2g / Sodium 637mg

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