Fettuccine Alfredo Without All The Guilt

I do love a good heaping plate of fettuccine alfredo.   Alfredo, for those of you who don’t already know, basically includes three ingredients.  Parmesan cheese.  Heavy cream.  And butter.  Lots of parmesan cheese, lots of heavy cream, lots of butter.  Over wide ribbons of pasta.  Listen, there’s a reason it tastes so dang good…you could drench yesterday’s newspaper in parmesan cheese and cream and butter and it would be delicious.

However, there is a price to pay for all this succulence, and that price will come back to haunt you when you try and button your favorite Levis if you have the classic fettuccine alfredo too often.  And since life is just too short to go for long without regular doses of fettuccine alfredo, we need a work-around.  When I came across this recipe for a lightened up version, I knew things were looking up.  The only issue was that it was a little TOO lightened up.  I’ve included the original link with the recipe, but let’s just say that it went from heavy cream all the way over to skim milk, among other things.  I’m all for lightening, but I figured there was a happy medium somewhere in between heavy cream and milk that looks, well, blue.  (It does!  Take a good long look at some skim milk in the light…it’s got a definite blue tinge.  That’s just not okay.)

Anyway.  Part of the lightening up here is that we are taking out some of the pasta and tossing in some nice crunchy broccoli instead.  You don’t HAVE to do this part, but it’s actually pretty great tasting.  The significant lightening, however, comes in the reworked sauce.  The parmesan cheese is still there, but the  nice thick and creamy buttery sauce comes not from heavy cream, but from a mixture of lowfat milk that has been thickened up with a little flour and about one millionth the amount of butter that alfredo usually calls for.

Does it taste like classic alfredo?  Are we making whomever invented fettuccine alfredo spin in their grave?  Not exactly, and absolutely.  But it IS nicely creamy and cheesy and scrumptious, and if you make this one most of the time when you get that fettuccine alfredo jones, you are allowed to make the real one every tenth time or so.  This way both you and YOUR Levis are happy.


Fetteccine Alfredo Without All The Guilt, adapted from Real Simple

  • Fettuccine Alfredo Without All The Guilt
    • 12 ounces fettuccine
    • 1 head broccoli, cut into florets, stalk peeled and sliced
    • 1½ cups 1 percent milk
    • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
    • 2 tablespoons flour
    • 1 cup cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus more for servingkosher salt
    1. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain.
    2. Meanwhile, bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook the broccoli until tender, 3 minutes. Drain.
    3. Heat the milk and butter in a large saucepan over low heat and slowly whisk in the flour. Simmer until slightly thickened, whisking constantly, 1 to 2 minutes.
    4. Remove from heat and stir in the Parmesan and ½ teaspoon salt. Add the pasta and broccoli and cook, stirring, over low heat until heated through.
    5. Top each serving with extra Parmesan.


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  1. Beth says

    This looks really good! It's similar to how I make alfredo – I just make a bechamel sauce, loaded with lots of garlic, with some Parmesan cheese thrown in. I don't think I've ever put broccoli in it though, that looks delish.

  2. Joanne says

    I'm totally up for compromise when it involves getting to eat my all-time favorite guilty pleasure on at LEAST a weekly basis. You make my world go round.

  3. AppleyEverAfter says

    Puree cauliflower in your next cream sauce! You can't even tell it's there because it's so creamy, and it adds some nutrition. :)

  4. FramedCooks says

    Thanks everyone! And pureed cauliflower…gotta try that. I do LOVE cauliflower, and I try to sneak it by the Southern husband as often as possible….

  5. mellie says

    Here's another tip. A can of no fat condensed milk also adds an amazing creaminess without the guilt. Condensed milk is also higher in calcium which makes it that much mor healthier!

  6. Anna says

    This is pretty much how I make it, except add a bouillon cube and some basil and garlic powder. You won’t regret it! I often make a vegetarian (not vegan) version and omit any meat and add carrots and mushrooms along with the garlic.

  7. Alfredo e Ines Di Lelio says

    We have the pleasure to tell you the history of our grandfather Alfredo Di Lelio, creator of “fettuccine all’Alfredo” (recipe in the world known).
    Alfredo di Lelio opened the restaurant “Alfredo” in Rome in 1914 (in Via della Scrofa), after leaving his first restaurant run by his mother Angelina in Rose Square (Piazza disappeared in 1910 following the construction of the Galleria Colonna / Sordi). In this local spread the fame, first to Rome and then in the world, of “fettuccine all’Alfredo”.
    In 1943, during the war, Di Lelio gave the local to his collaborators.
    In 1950 Alfredo Di Lelio decided to reopen with his son Armando (Alfredo II) his restaurant in Piazza Augusto Imperatore n.30 “Il Vero Alfredo”, which is now managed by his nephews Alfredo (same name of grandfather) and Ines (the same name of his grandmother, wife of Alfredo Di Lelio, who were dedicated to the noodles).
    In conclusion, the restaurant of Piazza Augusto Imperatore is following the family tradition of Alfredo Di Lelio and of his notes noodles (see also the site of “Il Vero Alfredo” http://www.alfredo-roma.it/).
    We must clarify that other restaurants “Alfredo” in Rome and in Italy do not belong to the family tradition of “Il Vero Alfredo” of Piazza Augusto Imperatore in Rome.
    We inform that the restaurant “Il Vero Alfredo” is in the registry of “Historic Shops of Excellence” of the City of Rome Capitale.

    Best regards Alfredo e Ines Di Lelio

  8. Maggie says

    First of all, I love tis Alfredo sauce recipe. It’s so delicious and less fattening.

    My only problem : you add zero garlic!

    I add a whole bulb of minced garlic to this. Makes it way tastier!

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