Saturday, September 17, 2011

A lighter version of Chicken Fetuccini Alfredo... with the same decadence we've all come to love

Pasta is one of the best starches I love to cook with because it's such a great flavor absorber.  Just make sure you marry the noodles and the sauce together well.  To do so, all you have to do is cook them together in the pot for the last few minutes instead of just slapping the sauce on top of noodles on a plate.  In doing the latter, you may be left with residual water that will more than likely dilute the taste of your sauce.  Also, try to gradually add in the salt throughout the whole dish instead of adding it all at one time.  The salt will blend in better.  The cooks of Food Network stand by this method undoubtedly.  And lastly, make sure you taste your food as you go!

I remember back in the day when mom used to take me to olive garden. I always got the dish with the "white sauce."  As I grew older, I learned that dish's name- Fettuccine Alfredo.  I feel in love with the richness and texture of the sauce that I started liking any and everything else that resembled it it any way- sour cream, cream cheese, mayo, and heavy and whipped cream... hahahah.

Making the dish from scratch is fun and of course, rewarding. You will also have a piece of mind know what exactly will go into it and in what amounts. No preservatives and no extra calories.  

For all of you somewhat health conscious people out there, here's a version of Alfredo that you'll be able to eat more than just occasionally without feeling bad and suffering the consequences.  I hope you try it out. Most of the ingredients are more than likely to be parked in your fridge and cupboard. 

2-3 servings; 15-25min

~1 1/2 tsp total salt

1/2 tbsp oil (veggie or extra virgin olive oil)
1tbsp butter
3 cloves garlic finely minced
1 medium onion diced
1lb boneless chicken thigh meat (found at foodfair frozen section)
salt/pepper to taste
1 tsp paprika or cajun seasoning

~7oz (200grams) spaghetti noodles - al dente

1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp flour
1 cup milk
1 cup evaporated milk
salt to taste
1 tbsp dried parsley flakes
1 cup roughly shredded cheese (or 1/2 cup if fine) Parmigiano Reggiano is usually used but I only had EDAM at the time-- a smooth dutch style cheese with a creamy mild taste

topping (optional):
splash lemon juice
dash red pepper flakes
more cheese of course hahah.

1. prepare chicken and vegetables.
2. In a non stick frying pan over medium high heat, heat oil and butter. add garlic and onions. stir occasionally to prevent burning. cook until onions caramelize (turn translucent). 
3. add chicken things and spread apart evenly to prevent water for clumping up.  do not stir. season with salt, pepper, and paprika evenly across and  wait till bottom side browns. after, stir to cook all the way. place in a separate bowl. Heat a pot of salted boiling water. add spaghetti, stir occasionally and cook until al dente(slightly undercooked. you will finish cooking them in the sauce).
4. do not rinse pan. heat pan over medium low heat. add butter, flour, and salt. cook for about 4 min stirring constantly. you are making what is called a rue.  this procedure helps cook out the "flour" taste.  the rue will help thicken the sauce.
5. add regular milk. stir constantly until sauce thickens a bit.
6. add evaporated milk and cheese. stir.
7. add chicken. stir 2 min. add noodles straight from boiling water. cook together until sauce sticks to noodles.
8. top with lemon juice, red pepper flakes, and more cheese.

(TIP: you can add 1 cup of frozen or fresh veggies. just add them after cooking the onions and make sure the water has evaporated. by not doing so, you will end up boiling the chicken instead of letting them fry in the butter/oil mixture.)

*Click HERE for a cooking dictionary. 

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