I’ve always been a sucker for fettuccine alfredo. I can distinctly remember my very first taste of the creamy white pasta; I was a long-haired junior high kid on vacation with my cousin, and when she ordered the dish at an Italian restaurant, I had to be just like her, so naturally I ordered the same thing. And it was love at first bite!
Of course, back then I didn’t know and didn’t care that my new favorite meal would soon give me love handles if I continued to eat it regularly. But now that I know what a nutritional nightmare it truly is, I’ve quickly trained my eyes to move past those two sinful words and order something a little less calorie-ridden. But even still, my taste buds have not forgotten, and they yearn for that rich taste again. But every time I try to make a “lighter” version it simply does not taste like the real thing. It’s either not rich enough, not creamy enough, or just tastes blah. That is until this weekend when I made the perfect “lower in cal but not in flavor” fettuccine alfredo masterpiece!
Instead of the carbohydrate-rich fettuccine noodles, I used my new favorite “noodle”: the spaghetti squash. This dramatically decreases the carbohydrate content and simply provides more nutrients. See my previous post to learn more about spaghetti squash. For the sauce, make a roux using a trans-fat free tub margarine, just a little bit of flour and a cup of fat-free milk. The low-fat cream cheese is what makes the sauce so rich tasting, and the bold taste of Parmesan adds a nutty, cheesy flavor.
Compared to 1 cup of regular fettuccine alfredo, this version has 235 less calories and 8 grams less fat. And yet it’s rich, creamy and tastes just like the real deal. When you have a craving for alfredo, try this easy 25 minute recipe and feel no guilt!
Spaghetti Squash Alfredo Printable PDF
1 medium spaghetti squash
1 Tablespoon trans-fat free margarine
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons flour
1 cup fat-free milk
1 Tablespoon low-fat cream cheese
2/3 cup Parmesan cheese
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
Crushed red pepper flakes to taste (optional)
Fresh parsley or chives, chopped for garnish (optional)
Cut squash in half lengthwise; scoop out seeds. Place cut-side down in microwave-safe dish; add ¼ cup water. Microwave, covered, on High for 12-15 minutes. Allow to cool slightly and scrape out flesh with a fork onto a large bowl; set aside. In a large sauce pan, melt margarine and sauté garlic for 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in flour and gradually whisk in milk, whisking constantly until lumps are gone. Once heated through, add cream cheese and stir until smooth. Add Parmesan cheese, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes and stir until cheese is melted. Toss cooked spaghetti squash with alfredo sauce and top with garnish.
Yield: 4 servings
Nutrition analysis per serving: 180 Calories, 9 grams fat, 20 milligrams cholesterol, 460 milligrams sodium, 18 grams carbohydrate, 2 grams dietary fiber, 10 grams protein