Work’s been good this past month so I was feeling a bit ‘spendy’ when I went grocery shopping.
My grocery list had ONE item on it … MILK … but I ended up spending $60 on various extras including a box of ice cream drumsticks. (SO bad … but it was a PROMO sale.)
I decided to skip replenishing my stock of potatoes so meals in the week ahead are going to feature pasta and rice side dishes. I was going to start with a chicken Alfredo. Unfortunately, it turned out that that carton of whipping cream that I was sure I had in the back of the fridge … wasn’t there.
A fast search on the net and I ran across a recipe for an Alfredo sauce using Greek yogurt. I also added a couple of ounces of cream cheese and, of course, Parmesan cheese, to the sauce.
Greek yogurt … I had strained it previously because I wanted a nice thick yogurt for something else, so I had to add more pasta water than expected to thin it down enough for the recipe below.
The result was delicious, and I didn’t miss the whipping cream at all.
Fettuccine Alfredo with Asparagus and Chicken – serves 4
300 gm fettuccine, linguine or spaghetti pasta
1/2 pound (~230 gm) chicken breast, cubed**
1/2 pound (~230 gm) asparagus stalks, cut into 1 1/2-2 inch pieces
** I had a couple of chicken cutlets that I had prepped and frozen, so I used those.
Cook pasta according to the package directions. Drain in a colander over a bowl. Reserve about a cup of the pasta water for use in the Alfredo sauce below. You’ll start with 1/4 cup but if your sauce tightens up you may need to add more.
NOTE: An easy way to cook your asparagus is to add it to the pot of pasta for the last 3 minutes of cooking time. It will be tender but still have a bit of crunch and retain its green colour.
Greek Yogurt Alfredo Sauce
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp coarsely ground black pepper (use white pepper if you want a whiter sauce)
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1/4 cup white wine (or pasta water, vegetable broth or chicken broth; the broth will make the sauce less white)
2 oz (~60 gm) Philadelphia cream cheese, cubed
1 oz (~30 gm, 1/2 cup) shredded Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
Additional grated Parmesan cheese, for garnish
Melt the butter and olive oil in a saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the diced chicken and asparagus and sprinkle the salt and pepper over the top. Saute until the chicken is lightly golden and no longer pink inside and the asparagus is tender, but still a bit crunchy. Remove the chicken and asparagus to a small bowl and reserve.
Lower the heat under the saute pan to medium and add the minced garlic. Stir and cook for 1 minute.
Stir in the wine (or pasta water) and scrape the bottom of the pan to bring up the fond (bits of browned chicken and garlic). Whisk in the cubed cream cheese until it melts into a ‘sauce’. You may want to add a bit more pasta water at this point to help. Remove the pan from the heat and let it sit for 2 minutes to cool enough that the yogurt won’t curdle.
Whisk in the yogurt and the grated Parmesan cheese and then return the pan to the stove over medium-low heat. Add the reserved chicken and asparagus and stir constantly until the Parmesan is mostly melted into the sauce, 3-4 minutes. Do not let the sauce come to a simmer or boil as this could cause it to curdle.
Add the cooked pasta to the saute pan and stir so that the sauce will coat the pasta. Add additional pasta water if needed to thin the sauce.
Serve and garnish with additional grated Parmesan cheese, if desired.