As I researched “Chicken Alfredo Recipes” online for one of my latest articles, a common keyword was “Olive Garden Chicken Alfredo Recipe”. Translation: This is the recipe everyone wants. And no wonder—most of the online “Olive Garden” style recipes call for a whole cube of cream cheese (on top of the cream and butter already going into it).
One recipe, using one pound of dry pasta, calls for two cups of cream. Two! It also calls for a stick and a half of butter and a cup of parmesan. I’m beginning to understand why Chicken Alfredo is so popular. It appears that the goal is to put as much fat into the dish as it can hold. Not to go on a rant, but I know my heart would prefer that I go light on the saturated fat, and substitute a bit of olive oil.
Yet I won’t tell you how to make a thick, pseudo-rich Alfredo by substituting fat-free chicken broth thickened with flour. I have nothing against adding a bit of the real thing, just perhaps in moderation, as it's been my experience that when dishes go "Low-Fat", we think we can eat more of them. Indeed we probably do eat more, still hoping to find that satisfaction that sometimes only comes with... The Real Thing. Fat. Yum.
So I'll share with you a way to prepare a healthier dish that’s still delicious. This particular rendition is also made with more basic ingredients. A decent parmesan cheese will do, even though I’ve heard more than one full-blooded Italian tell me words to this effect, “If you don’t have Parmigiano-Reggiano, don’t bother.” I beg to differ! As one raised on the green can of parmesan, a nice, coarsely grated parmesan is quite an improvement. I appreciate a reasonably-priced parmesan more than I can appreciate the nuances of the perfect “Parmigiano-Reggiano”. You may side with the connoisseurs, but I suggest that you might like this recipe even if you don’t have the fancier cheese stocked in your larder…
This is a popular Italian pasta dish; with its creamy base and fresh garlic flavor, what's not to like? "Fettucine Alfredo" is most traditional, although at The New Deli, we use rotelle pasta, which cooks up easily. Our version is also lighter than most renditions; if you're looking for an "Olive Garden" style pasta dish, just add a package of cream cheese to this recipe, cut up in small pieces. When cooking fettucine, stir often, as the flat sides of the noodles like to stick together if unattended. Add steamed broccoli and other favorites to this dish for variety; peas are a traditional component in this dish. Serves 2-4 or so.
• 8 oz. pasta, dry (fettucine or other)
• 1/4 tsp. nutmeg (or to taste)
• salt to taste
• fresh grated black pepper
• 1-2 c. cooked chicken
• 1-2 tsp. chopped fresh garlic
• 1/2 c. olive oil
• 1/2 c. cream
• 1/2 c. water
• 1 c. Parmesan
• 1/4 c. fresh chopped parsley
To a pot of boiling water, add: > 8 oz. dry pasta (your choice, although Fettucini noodles are tradtional)
Stir pasta and continue cooking on lower heat, 15 minutes or according to directions. (Different pastas cook in different lengths of time.)
Meanwhile, into a ceramic bowl, add: > 1-2 tsp. chopped fresh garlic > 1/2 c. virgin olive oil > 1/2 c. cream > 1/4 tsp. nutmeg (or to taste) > salt to taste > fresh grated black pepper > cooked pasta
Microwave the ceramic bowl of ingredients for 3 minutes or so, until heated and garlic is fragrant. This mixture can also be heated in the oven first. To the heated ingredients, add and toss again: > 1-2 c. cooked chicken, in chunks > 1 c. parmesan > fresh chopped parsley
This recipe can be used for leftover pasta and/or chicken, making an even quicker meal.