Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Cauliflower Alfredo

I know, there's been a lot of cauliflower lately, but it's okay because both recipes are awesome.  In fact, my mom loved this cauliflower alfredo, and together, we ate it for days until it was done!  I just asked her for a good quote about it and she said, "oh god, I don't even know!  It was just so good, I loved it!  It tasted like it was bad for you but it wasn't...Susie, you should make this!"  So besides Susie, you should all probably make it.

Here's the thing: I love alfredo but I really never make it because it's just too fattening.  I'm not super healthy when I cook, but I do try to be good most of the time.  So, when I found this idea for a low-fat alfredo using pureed cauliflower to lighten it up, I was pumped.  I also happened to have extra cauliflower left from our pulled cauliflower extravaganza.  It was cauliflower alfredo time.

To be honest, this wasn't the quickest meal, because first you have to boil the cauliflower in broth for about a half hour, then make the sauce out of it, and cook the pasta.  It doesn't take hours or anything but it wasn't super fast either.  The sauce is thickened with pureed cauliflower, but since I doubled the recipe, I had way too much cauliflower/broth mixture and it was flying out of my food processor, so I didn't really puree it as much as I should have (although Mom loved it that way).  There is still cheese in it, but only 1/4 cup Parmesan.  There's also 1/2-cup low-fat evaporated milk, but no cream.  It does call for 1 tablespoon of butter, but I didn't even put it in.  Frankly it wasn't needed.

The end result is a sauce that is incredibly cheesy and rich, but not at all bad for you.  It has peas in it too, which I totally love, and lemon zest which is such an amazing addition.  I used regular fettucine noodles and not whole grain to avoid my mom's complaining, so I'm sure my dish was more than the 324 calories the recipe says each serving has, but still, this is definitely a healthy version of a meal that is just as delicious - if not more - than its unhealthy counterpart!


cauliflower alfredo
from Food Network
yield 4 servings

2 cups cauliflower florets, about 8 ounces
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
8 ounces whole grain fettucine pasta
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup low-fat evaporated milk
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
3/4 cup frozen petite peas
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley, plus extra for garnish
1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest


1) Put the cauliflower, broth, and 1 cup water in a small pot; bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Adjust the heat to maintain a simmer and cook until the cauliflower is very soft, 25-30 minutes.  Remove from heat and cool 5 minutes.  Carefully puree cauliflower and all the liquid in a blender until very smooth; set aside.

2) Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta until al dente, 8 minutes.  Drain well, reserving about 1 cup pasta cooking water (note: I never used this water; my sauce was thin enough without it).

3)vHeat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Add the cauliflower puree and evaporated milk and bring to a simmer.  Cook until slightly thickened, 5 minutes, and season with salt and pepper.  Stir in the peas until heated through, 2 minutes. Toss in the cooked pasta, Parmesan cheese, and about 1/2 cup of pasta water until the noodles are coated but the sauce is still loose.  Remove from the heat and toss in the butter, chopped parsley, and lemon zest.  If the sauce seems thick, adjust the consistency with the remaining pasta water.  Serve immediately with the remaining pasta water.

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