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Lightened-Up Fettuccine Alfredo

as children, my brother + i were lucky that our parents took us out to lots of different restaurants, exposing us to all sorts of foods. cleverly, i foiled their attempts to get me to try new + exciting foods, wanting only one thing whenever we dined out: fettuccine alfredo. i mean, it’s a kid’s perfect meal: pasta, butter, + cheese. who can blame me for ordering it every single time we were at a restaurant?

as an adult, my tastes have changed + i’m much more adventurous at restaurants than i was as a kiddo. however, i still have a love for good ol’ fettuccine alfredo. so, the other night, i decided to whip up a healthier version at home. how was it? oh my goodness, heavenly! while i won’t go so far as to call this “diet food,” it is a significantly lower-calorie, lower-fat version, with about 500 calories + 15 grams of fat per generous serving. the best part? it certainly doesn’t taste healthified, as it still has all the delightful cheesy, creamy goodness that we love about fettuccine alfredo. so, if you’re looking for a healthier twist on a favorite comfort food, look no further – this recipe is fantastic!

Lightened-Up Fettuccine Alfredo

serves 4, adapted from foodnetwork.com


1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1 cup low-fat (2%) milk
kosher salt
2 tablespoons low-fat cream cheese or neufchatel cheese
3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more for topping
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
12 ounces fresh fettuccine
freshly ground pepper


make the sauce: melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. add the garlic + lemon zest + cook until the garlic is slightly soft, about 1 minute. add in the flour and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, 1 minute. whisk in the milk + 1 teaspoon salt + cook, whisking constantly, until just thickened, about 3 minutes. add the cream cheese or neufchatel + parmesan cheese; whisk until melted, about 1 minute. stir in the chopped parsley (optional – i like to just sprinkle my parsley on top, instead). taste + add salt/pepper to taste.

meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. add the fettuccine + cook until al dente, according to package directions. reserve 1 cup cooking water, then drain the pasta + return to the pot.

add the sauce + 1/2 cup of the reserved cooking water to the pasta + gently toss to combine, adding more cooking water if needed to loosen + achieve your desired thickness. season with additional salt + pepper to taste, if needed.

divide among bowls + top with more parmesan to taste.