If it wouldn’t affect my waistline, I could eat pasta every day. Probably twice some days. Alas, it is the food most dieters have a love-hate relationship with, because of it’s high carb, high calorie counts per serving (hate), and because of how easy it is to make and how yummy it really is (love). I’m not much a fan of diets, so I’m more a proponent of ‘everything in moderation’. When I do go for a delicious bowl of pasta, I try to make it as guilty free as possible, and this recipe makes that easy. I don’t have kids, but I would imagine that if I did, this would be a good way to trick them into eating their vegetables!
This pasta sauce is great because it has the creaminess of a traditional alfredo, but without the high calorie count. In order to achieve the creaminess, you cook, and then puree, cauliflower. I was weary of trying this recipe because normally I really don’t like cauliflower, but I was shocked at how amazing this tasted.
I’ve included the original recipe from The Food Network below, but I have a few comments from my own experiences making this several times:
- I’ve made this with the butter, with half the butter, and without the butter, and I’ve decided you really don’t need to include it at all.
- Since the cauliflower is difficult to measure, when you add it to the broth, make sure that there is JUST enough liquid to almost cover all of it, but not more. If there is too much liquid, the puree becomes too soupy.
- I usually double the recipe in order to have enough for dinner and then lunch the next day (doubling serves roughly 4-6 people).
- The recipe suggests reserving a cup of pasta water to add to the sauce- there’s no harm in doing this just in case, but I’ve never actually had to use it.
- Any pasta will work!
2 cups cauliflower florets, about 8-ounces
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup of water
8 ounces whole grain fettuccine pasta
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup low-fat or skim evaporated milk
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
3/4 cup frozen petite peas, thawed, (4 ounces) (I didn’t thaw mine in advance and they were just fine!)
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. Maintain a simmer and cook until the cauliflower is very soft, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the 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. Drain well, reserving about 1 cup pasta cooking water.
3. Heat 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 sprinkled with chopped parsley.