Monday, April 9, 2012

Fettuccini Alfredo with Zucchini Ribbons and Comfort Food by Ellie Krieger

I've never had an alfredo sauce that didn't come from a jar.  Even as a type that I almost don't even believe it myself.  My mom didn't make a lot of pasta as we were growing up and when I go to an Italian restaurant I order eggplant parm or chicken piccata.

When I received Ellie Krieger's new cookbook Comfort Food Fix, (Cookbook #81) I was immediately drawn to this recipe that included a healthier alfredo sauce and tons of zucchini ribbon "pasta." I love Ellie and her healthy twists on food.  My absolute favorite thing about Ellie's cookbooks is that she is not about substituting low fat, artificial foods and sweeteners to just to lighten the calories in foods.  She uses real ingredients and sugars and fats but in moderation and includes healthy additions to improve the nutritional value.   Comfort Foods is full of those recipes that we love such as quiches, french toast, coffee cakes, quick breads, burgers, cobblers, cookies and casseroles, but with a cleaner, healthier twist.

Chicken Alfredo Pasta.  Yep, not necessarily known for being light and healthy.  But with substituting whole wheat pasta for regular, replacing some of the pasta for veggies and creating a sauce with evaporated milk, I think she was pretty successful in creating a recipe that is ultra creamy, cheesy and rich.  Almost a little too rich tasting.  I am though, the girl who's never had real alfredo sauce to compare this to.  

Love the zucchini ribbons twist.  I would easily make this again with just the zucchini and omitting the pasta all together.  The garlic cooked zucchini was that delish.

As the cookbook mentions, save some of the pasta water to loosen the sauce a bit.  Mine was pretty thick so I used all of the pasta water.  It made a super saucy pasta because I dumped the zucchini and the pasta into the sauce rather than vice versa.  Next time I'd definitely conservatively spoon the sauce over the zucchini and pasta.  In the end though, the sauce all soaked into the noodles as sauces usually do. 

Ellie's recipe had instructions for pan cooking some chicken, but since my grill came to live at my place, I always have chicken marinating in the fridge to throw on the grill. This was pretty fantastic with some juicy grilled marinated chicken thrown on top.  

Fettuccini Alfredo with Zucchini Ribbons
adapted from Comfort Foods by Ellie Krieger

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 medium zucchini
  • 8 oz ounces whole wheat fettuccini 
  • 2 tsp flour
  • 2/3 cup cold 1% milk
  • 5 oz can evaporated skim (not condensed milk)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese


  1. Using a vegetable peeler, carefully create long strips of zucchini. If pieces are too wide, use a knife to cut into fettuccine width pieces 
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in large non-stick skillet over a medium heat. Add 1 clove of the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the zucchini ribbons, cover and cook until the zucchini is tender, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. 
  3. Cook the pasta al dente according to the directions on the package. Ladle out a half cup of the pasta water and set aside. Drain the pasta. 
  4. For the sauce, stir the flour into the low-fat milk until it is completely dissolved. 
  5. Put the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in the skillet and heat over a medium-high heat. Add the remaining clove of garlic and cook for 30 seconds. 
  6. Add the flour-milk mixture and cook until the mixture begins to boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes more. 
  7. Add the evaporated milk, salt and the cheese and cook, stirring, until the cheese is melted, about 1 minute. 
  8. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 
  9. Add the the zucchini and pasta in the pot and toss to combine. Add a little of the reserved pasta water as necessary to loosen the sauce to a light and creamy consistency


Emma Jane said...

Oh my goodness. I am a really big fettuccini fan so this makes me happy. And t has veggies so my kids get those to? Nice!!!?

Monica said...

I'm not usually an alfredo fan but I have to admit this does sound pretty yummy.

Wendy said...

I'm not

Wendy said...

Blast it. Was just going to say that I'm not a huge pasta person but live the idea of zucchini as pasta! I love Ellie Krueger too and her recipes always taste really good.

Sophia said...

Alfredo is sadly my favorite food ever. I could definitely get on board with a healthier version. Live how pretty the photos are and the zucchinni adds such a lovely color!

Bronwyn said...

Love. Love. Love. I could eat zucchini everyday and it's do darn cute like this!

Ellie said...

Oh yum. We haven't had too many carbs since new year but love th idea of zucchini noodles. Mlooks so good and I bet it'd be great with just the zucchini.

Kristine said...

As a person with lots of italian running in the veins, I have to say I am a fettucine alfredo lover. I might be tempted to try this though, the sauce really does look thick and creamy as it should be!

Julia said...

Those zucchini ribbons are gorgeous!! Love how the green adds such a glorious burst of color and makes it even look healthier! Ellie is one of my favorite food TV personalities.

Renee said...

So delicious looking! I think this will be our Friday night date night dinner that I make for my husband every Frday after the kids are in bed. Thanks for sharing it!

Kara said...

I am a chicken alfredo addict. It's all I ever order when we go out for italian though I am sometimes tempted by the chicken or eggplant parmesan. They should have a sample menu! :) This light version looks surprisingly good for light food! :)

Julie said...

Looks sooooooo good and creamy and rich! The zucchini is such a fun twist!

Sarah said...

I really actually love the photos with the pasta and all of the alfredo sauce, but I tend to lean in the other direction. Pour sauce on everything and lots of it!! Looks great!

Olivia said...

We made this last night and it was soooooo good! We really like the full fatted version too but truthfully, the crispy zucchini and the lighter sauce were perfect together! We didn't' miss the fat at all.