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Monday, September 20, 2010

Chef Bruce Tretter's "Pasta with Lighter Alfredo Sauce"

Pasta With Lighter Alfredo Sauce

I love Fettuccine Alfredo but don't like the excessively full feeling after eating it, which

is largely attributed to the heavy cream in the sauce. The recipe here substitutes

evaporated milk for heavy cream, which far reduces the fat content and therefore makes

the Alfredo sauce less excessively filling. This recipe also uses garlic to add little more

flavor, zucchini or yellow squash for freshness and an optional shot of balsamic vinegar

for an added rounding out zing. All together, this pasta with lighter Alfredo sauce recipe

provides full-on flavor that tastes at least as good as standard Fettuccine Alfredo without

the added heaviness.

So here's the lowdown on Heavy Cream vs. Evaporated Milk.

Ounce for ounce, heavy cream has 100 calories, evaporated milk has 40 calories. That

means heavy cream has 2 ½ times more calories than evaporated milk. All the 100

calories in that 1 ounce of heavy cream are attributed to fat; only half or 20 calories in

evaporated milk are attributed to fat. Regarding fat content itself, 1 ounce of heavy cream

contains 10 grams of fat, while 1 ounce of evaporated milk contains 2 grams of fat.

That's a 5 to 1 difference.

Here are the ingredients you'll need for 2 people as a main dish or 4 people as a side dish:


(for 2-4 people)

½ Box or 8 Ounces Pasta

12 Ounce Container of Evaporated (non-sweetened) Milk

1 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese

1 Zucchini or Yellow Squash

1 Garlic Clove

1 Tablespoon Butter or Margarine

Black Pepper

Balsamic Vinegar (optional)


Large Knife

Cutting Board


Can Opener

Large Spoon

Measuring Cup

Medium Sized Pot



1. Start by filling a medium sized pot 1/2 - 2/3's full with water. Put the pot on the

stove and warm it over HIGH heat.

2. While the water warms, pull a garlic clove from a fresh garlic bulb. Crack the

garlic skin by covering the clove with the side of a wide bladed knife and pushing on the

side of the knife blade with the heel of your hand until you feel the garlic clove break

open. Then peel the garlic skin, anchor the garlic clove to the cutting board with curled

fingers cut the clove into thin slices and finish by chopping the slices you've made into

smaller pieces.

3. Rinse the zucchini, cut off the front end of the zucchini but leave the stem still

attached so that you have something to hold onto as you grate the whole zucchini

coarsely making sure to keep your hand away from the grating blades.

4. When the water comes to a full, big bubble boil, check the pasta package for the

recommended cooking time and set the timer for 2 minutes less than the time the package

recommends – the pasta will soak up more liquid when the evaporated milk is added

later. The pasta package I used to make this recipe recommended cooking 12 minutes for

firm pasta, so I set the timer for 10 minutes. Also, don't add any salt to the water, as the

pasta package might recommend as you'll get enough salt flavor from the grated

Parmesan cheese. With all that said, now add ½ box or 8 ounces of pasta to the

boiling water, start the timer, stir the pasta, and, as soon as the water comes back to a

boil, turn down the stove heat to MEDIUM.

5. While the pasta cooks, put a colander in the sink, use a can opener to open a can

of evaporated milk, and measure 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese.

6. When the timer sounds, pour the pasta and hot water into a colander in the sink.

Then use the tablespoon markers on the packaging as a guide to measure and add about 1

tablespoon butter or margarine, and top with chopped garlic and shredded zucchini.

Stir and cook until the garlic becomes fragrant, then pour and stir in a 12 ounce can of

evaporated milk. Let the evaporated milk, garlic and zucchini mixture warm for a

minute or two. Add the cooked pasta, stir and let the pot warm until the pasta mixture

starts to steam. As soon as the pasta mixture starts to steam, turn off the stove heat (to

avoid burning the pot), then add and stir in 1 measured cup of grated Parmesan cheese

and keep stirring until the cheese and evaporated milk are smoothly blended together.

This might actually take a little time depending on the coarseness of the Parmesan

cheese you're using. I used some coarsely shredded cheese recently and had to stir for

about 2 minutes until everything smoothed out. No problem.

7. Add and stir in a light dusting of ground black pepper and an optional shot of

balsamic vinegar.

8. Serve warm and either have as is or topped with additional grated Parmesan


For visual directions, please visit Click "Free Downloads" from the

bottom of the homepage. Then scroll down to "Pasta" and click "Pasta with Lighter

Alfredo Sauce" for uniquely easy to follow, step-by-step picture book directions.

© 2010 Bruce Tretter