After my last blog post, I received a very cool healthy recipe for an Alfredo sauce from my foodie friend, Kate McArdle. Kate and I both have an intense love of cheese (and, bacon), so when she offered this fake-fredo sauce recipe, I knew it had to be worth trying.
Kate introduced the recipe to me like this, "I've made this so many times. Apparently the tiny bit of water (8 cups) you use to boil the pasta makes the water extra starchy and when you mix the cheese into the hot, starchy pasta water, it makes a really creamy sauce without all the butter and cream. I've used Parmesan cheese more often then not (because I ALWAYS have some) and it tastes like Alfredo sauce without the insane dairy fat overload... It is SO simple - I think you will really like it! I've also thrown steamed broccoli into it - amazing. Give it a try!"
If that doesn't sell it, what could?
The recipe that Kate sent me, Spaghetti with Pecorino Romano and Black Pepper (Cacio e Pepe), was one that she found in the cookbook, The Best of America's Test Kitchen 2011. It seemed great as is, but I didn't have the 2T heavy cream that the recipe called for (just not in my fridge, crazy right?) so I replaced it with 1T Philadelphia cream cheese, and 1T Organic Greek yogurt. It works. I bet cottage cheese would be a great replacement, too - it's saltier. I was running low on Pecorino Romano, so I blended it with the Grated Parmesan I had in the fridge. I also chose to pair my Alfredo sauce with brown rice pasta, but you can use any type of pasta you'd like.
|I added spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, and red pepper flakes to mine, after I plated it. I highly recommend trying these additions. The flavors just pop, and it adds a little more nutrition to this already awesome meal.|
Here's Kate's recipe with my modifications. I call it Fake-fredo Sauce. If you make it without the veggie additions, this is what it looks like:
|A fabulously, fine Fake-fredo sauce.|
|My uber-cool son likes the pasta. He's just too chill to show it.|
DG's Fake-fredo Sauce
326 calories for the entire sauce recipe
Modified version of the recipe Spaghetti with Pecorino Romano and Black Pepper from The Best of America’s Test Kitchen 2011
- 4 oz Pecorino Romano, fresh grated fine, plus extra for serving
- 1 lb your choice of pasta
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon Philadelphia cream cheese
- 1 tablespoon organic Greek yogurt (plain)
- 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive-oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
Add the grated cheese to a medium heatproof bowl. Set a colander over a large heatproof bowl. Set both aside.
Bring 8 cups of water to a boil in a large pot. Add the spaghetti and the salt, and cook, stirring frequently, according to package directions until the pasta is al dente. Drain the pasta into the colander (still set over the large bowl – you want to capture and pasta cooking water because you’ll be reserving some). Transfer 1 1/2 cups of the pasta cooking water to a measuring cup (put a bit more aside, in case you need to thin sauce; discard the rest). Put the pasta in the now empty bowl.
A little at a time, whisk 1 cup of the pasta cooking water into the grated cheese. Once it’s completely incorporated, add the cream cheese and yogurt, olive oil and pepper. Whisk until combined (I used a fork) – the sauce should be mostly smooth. If the sauce seems too thick, add more water; too thin, add more grated cheese.
Pour the cheese sauce over the pasta, a little at a time, tossing to coat. Once you’ve added all of the sauce, let the pasta rest for about 1 minute, tossing it frequently. Serve garnished with extra grated cheese and freshly ground black pepper.
You can also add steamed spinach, broccoli, fresh basil, sun-dried tomatoes. It's all a matter of taste.