This dinner is dreamy and not just cause there are ribbons of spinach nestled among tender fettuccine noodles all smothered in a velvety smooth cheese sauce, but because it comes together in under 30 minutes, AND is remarkably low in fat and calories for a normally whoppingly fattening dish. Run to the store to get the ingredients now. You can thank me later!
I love rich decadent pasta dishes but rarely make them because unfortunately my hips don't, so I was ecstatic when I found this lightened up version that allows me to get my carb fix in without too much guilt. The secret is using light cream cheese and fat free half and half and I swear you won't miss all the heavy cream that's generally used for this dish. And there's spinach--plenty of spinach, so you can add in that heaIthiness factor too. It's hard to believe how creamy and yummy it is!
I've made this a bunch of times now and it's a winner with everyone in my family. So perfect for busy week nights--just add a little salad and you've got a wonderful comfort food-filled dinner that will leave you feeling so comfortable in both body and spirit that you might even have room (and calories to spare) for a little bit of dessert!
Quick and Light Spinach Fettuccine
Makes 4 servings
Prep Time: Under 30 minutes
1 pound fettuccine noodles (white or whole wheat)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup water
2 ounces light cream cheese
3/4 cup chicken or vegetable broth
3 tablespoons unbleached, all-purpose flour
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese, plus more for topping at end
Two 6-ounce bags baby spinach
1 cup fat free half and half
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil over high heat. Cook the fettuccine according to the package directions.
2. While the pasta is boiling, melt the butter in a large skillet. Add the garlic and cook, stirring for about 1 minute. Pour in the water and add the cream cheese. Cover the pan and let it cook for about 5 minutes, then whisk it until completely smooth and melted.
3. In a small bowl whisk together the flour with the chicken or vegetable broth. Then add to the skillet along with the parmesan cheese and whisk until the mixture is thickened. Add in the half and half, spinach, salt and pepper and stir together. Cover the pan again partially so that the spinach wilts and cook, stirring every so often, for about 5 minutes, allowing the mixture to simmer and the spinach to become tender. Season with more salt and pepper if necessary.
4. Toss the mixture with the fettuccine and serve immediately. You can top it with extra parmesan if you like.
5. If you leave this in the pot for a while, it may start to dry out a bit. If that's the case, you can add in a little bit more half and half or low fat milk to help bring back the creaminess. Just reheat in the pot over low heat.
Note: Recipe adapted from Creme De La Crumb. I tinkered around a lot with measurements and ingredients.