Saturday, August 7, 2010

Summer Garden Pasta Alfredo

Prior to my diagnosis of T2 diabetes, my meal of choice at my favorite Italian restaurant would most often be Fettuccine Alfredo. I love that creamy, cheesy sauce over the soft noodles. But, if you look at the nutritional information per serving of the traditional recipe (see below), it's no wonder I ended up with a digestive medical illness! That doesn't change the fact that I love Pasta Alfredo and have cravings for it occasionally.

This recipe makeover really satisfies my longing for noodles and creamy cheese sauce. It includes lots of high-fiber, nutritious vegetables that are abundant in backyard gardens and farmer's markets right now. If you've run out of ways to serve zucchini and tomatoes, try this recipe! Here's my daughter's comment at the dinner table last night that says it all: "If I was served this at Olive Garden, I would think it was great! It tastes like the real thing to me."

Summer Garden Pasta Alfredo
(Makes 5 servings)

1 zucchini, quartered and sliced
1 yellow summer squash, quarter and sliced
¼ cup finely chopped onion
1 package frozen broccoli florets or 3 cups fresh
1 tablespoon flour
6.5 oz. soft cheese spread, garlic and herb flavor (I used Alouette)
1-2/3 cups skim milk or Hood Calorie Countdown Dairy Beverage
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoon torn fresh basil (or 2 teaspoons dried)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley (or 2 teaspoons dried)
2 plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
6 oz. dried carb-friendly spaghetti pasta (I used Dreamfields)

1. Cook pasta according to package directions.

2. In a large non-stick skillet sprayed with non-stick cooking spray, saute the first four ingredients until tender-crisp. Add flour and cook for 30 seconds. Add cheese spread and stir until melted. Add milk and stir to combine. Cook, stirring frequently, until bubbly and thickened. Add Parmesan cheese, herbs, tomatoes, salt and pepper. Stir and cook until heated through.

3. Place drained spaghetti into a large serving bowl. Pour sauce and vegetables over the top and toss until noodles are coated. Serve immediately.

Nutritional Information per serving: 303.2 calories, 37.8 g carbohydrate, 10.9 g total fat, 7.2 g saturated fat, 386 mg sodium, 5.8 g fiber, 16.4 g protein.

Original recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2010

How does this recipe compare with traditional Pasta Alfredo? Traditional Alfredo is made with loads of butter and heavy cream and doesn't have the benefit of added vegetables. This healthier recipe is seriously lower in calories, carbohydrate and saturated fat. For comparison, the nutritional information for a lunch-size portion of Fettuccine Alfredo at a favorite Italian restaurant chain is an astonishing 800 calories, 69 g carbohydrate, 48 g total fat, 30 g saturated fat, 810 g sodium, 4 g fiber, 23 g protein.

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