I mean, I love alfredo with all of its buttery, creamy, parmesan-y goodness, but I also know that I can't afford to eat a 2,000 calorie meal. So, I made a few switches to lighten it up a smidge and added some broccoli florets to get in some green. If you like to live dangerously, go all out and use cream in place of the milk.
This pasta comes together super quick and uses staple ingredients so it's a nice standby for those nights that you just really don't feel like cooking. If you want to up the protein, you can quickly grill up some chicken breast on a countertop grill, slice it up, and then serve it on top. This is a super versatile recipe!
Oh, also, this recipe is super easy to cut in half... I just wanted to use the entire package of pasta and broccoli so I made a large batch.
Total Recipe cost: $5.48
Servings Per Recipe: 8
Cost per serving: $0.69
Prep time: 5 min. Cook time: 25 min. Total: 30 min.
|16 oz.||dry fettuccine||$1.63|
|16 oz.||frozen broccoli florets||$1.29|
|4 Tbsp||all-purpose flour||$0.06|
|1 cup||grated parmesan||$0.96|
|to taste||salt & pepper||$0.05|
STEP 1: Begin to boil a large pot of water to cook the pasta. When it reaches a full boil, add the pasta and cook for 7-10 minutes or until al dente. When the pasta is finished cooking, reserve 1/2 cup of the starchy pasta water and then drain the pasta in a colander.
STEP 2: While the pasta is cooking, thaw the broccoli in the microwave and begin to make the parmesan sauce. Mince the garlic and cook it over medium heat in a medium sauce pot with the butter until the garlic has softened slightly (3-5 minutes). Add the flour, stir and cook for 2-3 minutes more. This is the "roux" that will thicken the sauce.
STEP 3: Whisk in the milk. Increase the heat to medium-high. Whisk the milk mixture until it comes up to a light simmer. As soon as it reaches a simmer it will thicken and should be able to coat a wooden spoon (see photos below). Turn the heat off and whisk in the parmesan cheese. Add freshly cracked black pepper, nutmeg, and salt to taste. Make the sauce slightly saltier than you'd prefer if you were eating the sauce alone. Once it's spread out over the pasta and broccoli it will taste more mild.
STEP 4: Return the cooked pasta to the large pot that it was boiled in (with the burner turned off). Add the reserved pasta cooking water and toss the pasta to loosen it up. Add the thawed broccoli and then pour the parmesan sauce over top. Stir to coat everything in the sauce and then serve!
Step By Step Photos
Begin by boiling the water for the pasta. Once it reaches a full boil, cook the pasta according to the package directions. Reserve about a 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water before draining it in a colander.
Meanwhile, cook the minced garlic and butter in a medium pot over medium heat until the garlic is softened (3-5 minutes).
Stir in the flour and continue to cook and stir this mixture for 2-3 minutes. It's important to cook this for a few minutes to slightly toast the flour. This prevents a "floury" flavor in the final sauce. Make sure to continually stir while it's cooking.
Next, whisk in the milk and increase the heat slightly (to medium-high). Allow the sauce to come up to a light simmer, whisking occasionally.
When the liquid reaches a simmer, the starch granules in the flour will swell and thicken the sauce. It should be thick enough to coat a wooden spoon as shown.
Turn the heat off as soon as it has thickened. Add the parmesan cheese and whisk until it melts in.
The cheese will further thicken the sauce. It should now coat a wooden spoon even more.
Season the sauce with salt, freshly cracked pepper, and a pinch (1/8th tsp or so) of nutmeg. Make the sauce slightly saltier than you'd think because once it's spread out over the pasta and broccoli, it will taste more mild.
Add the drained pasta back to the large pot that it was boiled in. Make sure the burner is turned off. Add the reserved pasta water and toss to loosen the pasta. Add the broccoli (thawed), and pour the parmesan sauce over top.
Toss the pasta and broccoli in the sauce until everything is well coated. Serve warm!
Easy-peasy! Ooh, peas would be nice in this instead of broccoli, too!