It turns out, pregnancy has given me all sorts of crazy cravings for things I would normally never indulge in, like my recent lust for fettuccine alfredo (something I formerly despised!).
Though good nutrition is still my first priority, as I want baby to get the very best start! Not wanting to use pregnancy as an excuse to eat whatever I want, but also not wanting to feel completely deprived of these sudden food desires, my goal has been to make them as wholesome and healthful as possible, which generally means I cook them myself. So was the case with this traditionally rich pasta dish.
First thing I did was to turn to my trusted cookbook, The Best Light Recipe by America's Test Kitchen. Not only did it provide a wonderful looking, lighter version of fettuccine alfredo, but I had once loaned the book to my mom and she left a little note in the book saying how much her and my dad had enjoyed this particular recipe. Finally, seeing that each serving was a reasonable 300 calories, I was sold!
Grabbing all the fresh ingredients I needed from the store, I was ready to try my hand at my very own alfredo sauce.
The list of ingredients is short, though it's important to follow directions carefully. Because of this, I would highly recommend reading through the directions ahead of time, to yield the very best results.
With that said, I was so pleased with the finished product! Not being a previous lover of this particular pasta, I am now completely smitten! A splurge meal I will definitely keep in my back pocket. Just serve up with a side salad and you've got yourself a lovely meal for entertaining your dearest friends!
3/4 cup half and half
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon cornstarch
9 ounces fresh fettuccine
2 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated fine (about 1 cup)
Ground black pepper
I also added 2 Tablespoons of sun dried tomato pesto
1. Bring 6 quarts water to a boil in a large pot. Using a ladle, fill four individual serving bowls with about 1/2 cup of the boiling water each; set the bowls aside to warm. (really important step to avoid pasta from cooling too quickly)
2. Meanwhile, bring 1/2 cup of the half-and-half, nutmeg and 1/4 teaspoon salt to a simmer in a large saucepan. Whisk the cornstarch and remaining 1/4 cup half-and-half together, then whisk it into the simmering mixture. Continue to simmer the sauce, whisking constantly, until it has thickened, about 1 minute. Cover and set the pot off the heat.
3. Stir 1 tablespoon salt and pasta into the boiling water and cook, stirring constantly until al dente, about 1-2 minutes. Reserving 3/4 cup of the pasta coking water, drain the pasta.
4. Return the half-and-half mixture to medium-low heat and whisk in 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water. Slowly whisk in the Parmesan. Add the pesto, incorporating well. Add the pasta and cook, coating the pasta evenly with the sauce, until the sauce has thickened slightly, about 1 minute. Season with pepper to taste. Working quickly, empty the serving bowls of water, divide the pasta among the bowls and serve. Enjoy!