Lightened Comfort Food: Alfredo Pasta

One of the creamiest dishes I know is pasta with Alfredo sauce. I mean it's practically cheese, cream, butter and pasta ... that's why it is so good.

As a kid, I never liked tomatoes (don't shun me; I love tomatoes now). So tomato sauce on my pasta was never an option or something I would opt for. Butter and cheese quickly became my go-to toppings for pasta. This later transformed into a love for Alfredo sauce.

After realizing how many grams of fat and calories were in Alfredo pasta sauce, I decided to search for a recipe that lowers the amount of bad nutrients but maintains that creamy and delicious flavor.

For several years, I relied on Cooking Light for all of my healthy recipes. They know how to make healthy, tasty meals and desserts. One of my go-to recipes is their "Straw and Hay Alfredo with Roasted Asparagus."

Instead of using plain pasta, there is a mixture of both whole wheat and regular pasta. You can use spaghetti noodles or fettuccine noodles. Either one works fine.

To lighten up this Alfredo sauce, the cream and butter will obviously need to be reduced and replaced somewhat. Combine two cups of one-percent milk to add a touch of fat to the cream, 1/3 cup of 1/3-less-fat cream cheese for a little pungent flavor, two tablespoons of all-purpose flour to bind it together and one teaspoon of salt in a blender.

Next, melt one teaspoon of butter in a saucepan, then add three minced garlic cloves. Once the garlic is cooked, add the milk mixture and cook for several minutes until it begins to simmer. You should continue to cook the sauce in the pan until it thickens. Make sure you constantly stir the sauce so it doesn't burn.

After the sauce thickens, remove the pot from the heat and stir in one cup of grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and cover the saucepan. Begin boiling your water for the pasta at this point.

To add a little bit more nutrients to the Alfredo pasta dish, you can add asparagus, broccoli, peas or any other green vegetable. Simply coat the vegetable with cooking spray, or a tiny bit of olive oil, then bake in a preheated 425 degree oven for 10 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft and tender.

While the vegetables cook, place equal amounts of whole wheat pasta and regular pasta in boiling salted water. This recipe makes enough for eight people to have a one cup serving, so use eight ounces each of whole wheat and regular pasta.

Once the pasta is done and the vegetables are cooked, toss all of the ingredients together in a large bowl, then season with black pepper. The recipe calls for adding truffle oil to the dish, but I am not a fan of using truffle oil, so either add real truffles or a little bit of olive oil.

This Alfredo pasta dish has less than 300 calories in a one-cup serving. Most Alfredo sauces have nearly 150 calories and more than 12 grams of fat in just 1/2 cup of sauce, and that's without the pasta. So, enjoy your lightened Alfredo pasta and feel good about the meal you made.

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