Bruce Tretter has got an Alfredo sauce you can’t refuse: rich and creamy, yet lighter than the traditional dish. Mangia!
Pasta, cheese and cream. What’s not to love about that? Nothing, except for the lead-gut feeling after pounding down the last forkful. You want to find the criminal? It’s the heavy cream traditionally called for to make the cheese sauce.
We can fix that. Easy. And with no sacrifice in flavor.
To do that, the recipe you see substitutes heavy cream with evaporated milk. Check out the Heavy Cream and Evaporated Milk Comparison below the ingredients picture to see the incredible calorie and fat difference between those two ingredients. But back to flavor, which always rules, what you’ll see here is also how to use garlic and an optional shot of balsamic vinegar for an added Alfredo punch.
Preparation Time: 5-10 minutes
Cooking Time: 20-25 minutes
½ Box or 8 Ounces Pasta
12 Ounce Container (unsweetened) Evaporated Milk
1-2 Garlic Cloves
Grated or Shredded Parmesan Cheese
Ground Black Pepper
Balsamic Vinegar (optional)
Medium Sized Pot
Heavy Cream and Evaporated Milk Comparison
Evaporated milk has less than half the calories and 20% the fat content of heavy cream. If you look at the labels below, first notice the serving size for heavy cream is half the serving size of evaporated milk. So, taken ounce for ounce, heavy cream has 100 calories, all which are attributed to fat; 10 grams of fat, 7 grams of which are saturated fat: and 40 mg of cholesterol. The same quantity of evaporated milk has 40 calories, 20 of which are attributed to fat; 2 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of which are saturated fat; and 10 mg of cholesterol.
1. Fill a medium sized pot about half full with cold tap water. Put the pot on the stove, and turn on the burner to HIGH heat.
2. While the water warms, pull 1-2 garlic cloves from a fresh garlic bulb.
Put 1 garlic clove at a time under the flat side of wide bladed (chef’s) knife, and use the heel of your hand to press down on the top flat side of the knife with enough pressure to break the garlic clove open to make peeling the garlic skin much easier.
Peel the garlic skin. Then slice and chop the garlic until it looks about as shown in the third picture below.
3. Let the water come to a big bubble, rapid boil as shown in the full boil photo below, not just a small bubble , fizzy boil shown in the NOT a full boil (photo below), to help ensure the pasta cooks properly to desired doneness.
Check the pasta package for the recommended cooking time, and set a timer for 2 minutes less than the time the package recommends to allow the pasta to soak up some of the evaporated milk that will be added in step 5. (My package recommended cooking 12 minutes for al dente (“firm to the teeth”) pasta, so I set the timer for 10 minutes.) Then,…
…add ½ box or 8 ounces of pasta to the boiling water and stir until all the pasta is submerged in the boiling water.
Let the water come back to a full boil. Then turn down the burner heat to MEDIUM to prevent the pot from boiling over, and cook until the timer sounds.
5. When the timer sounds, pour the pasta and hot water into the colander in the sink, and lower the burner heat to LOW MEDIUM.
Put the pot back on the stove, pour in the entire can of evaporated milk, and add the chopped garlic.
Let the evaporated milk warm for a minute or two. Then add the cooked pasta, stir, and let the pot warm until the evaporated milk just starts to bubble and steam.
Stir with a big spoon until the Parmesan cheese and evaporated milk blend together smoothly.
6. Serve, and either have the pasta with lighter Alfredo sauce as is or topped with your choice or combination of ground black pepper and/or balsamic vinegar to taste.
What goes great with Pasta Alfredo? More recipes from Bruce Tretter:
Images courtesy of the author