I love a good Alfredo sauce but tend never to indulge on account of all the cream and butter. Last night, not wanting to go to all the trouble to make a large sit down dinner – I was looking for something that could be prepared in 20 minutes or less and cleaned up even more expediently. I wanted something warm and comforting as the winds were hurling themselves at the house, rattling these old, tired windows. Comfort food was the answer. Comfort food quick was what I was looking for! What I really wanted was an Alfredo sauce with none of the guilt.
I was prepared to make a simple linguine with olive oil, lemon and Parmesan – a family favorite, but at the last minute I decided to substitute the lemon for a healthy dollop of light sour cream (next time I will use Greek yogurt in lieu of the sour cream) and mix it in well. I didn’t need a lot and a half a cup was enough to perfectly coat the noodles along with the olive oil. I then added some fresh sea salt for flavor. As I tasted sampled the perfectly cooked and coated linguine I knew something was missing and remembered that nutmeg is used in creating a Béchamel sauce. So I added just a touch and upon sampling I decided it added the perfect amount of nutty, peppery, sweetness. Once everything was very well blended I tossed in a very generous handful of Parmesan – perhaps about ¾ of a cup. I reheated the pasta to melt the cheese, and served right out of the pan. The result was a cross between a Béchamel and an Alfredo sauce without the guilt and it was divine. I knew it was good when the kids all asked why I hadn’t ever made it for them before!
One Pan Guiltless Creamy Parmesan Pasta
(Or Alfredo sans guilt!)
1 lb pasta - Spaghetti or Linguine
3/4 - 1 cup of Light Sour Cream or Greek Yogurt
4 tbs olive oil - enough to generously coat pasta
3/4 - 1 cup of Shredded (not grated) Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp nutmeg + a light sprinkling over each serving
Sea salt to taste
It should be noted that I eyeballed all ingredients and amounts are approximate. Start with the lesser amounts and you can always add more if desired.
In a large pan bring water to a boil and cook pasta for time specified on packaging.
When pasta is sufficiently al dente drain the water from the pan, leaving a scant amount and return pasta to the pan.
Over low heat at the sour cream or yogurt and the nutmeg and stir in until the noodles are well coated. I find that tongues work best in this scenario.
Add the Parmesan and keep tossing until the cheese had blended well and if soft and melting.
Add sea salt to taste.
Separate pasta into 4 portions and place in bowls.
Sprinkle a little bit of nutmeg over the top and serve.
Note: If you have hungry teenagers and are not serving this with a protein you may want to double up the recipe!