- Food and Cooking
Pasta Alfredo recipe - light version
A lighter Pasta Alfredo recipe - quick, easy & healthy
The first time I made this lovely Italian-inspired dish was at a time when I'd been cooking with heavy ingredients such as olive oil, pastry and lots of cheese.
We both wanted a pasta dish that was creamy and filling, but I wanted to make something lighter than a regular Alfredo. And as always, it needed to be a recipe that was quick and easy.
We both enjoyed this so much and now I cook this dish regularly.I also had to rely on the ingredients I had in the cupboard and in the fridge. I had some mushrooms, a lemon, garlic, pasta and I always have fresh basil growing in a pot. But this recipe was really born when I discovered that I had a can of table cream in the store cupboard.
The traditional dish contains lots of cream, plenty of butter and a good amount of cheese. The canned cream is a sauce almost in itself. Of course, it developed into something that's far from the original classic Italian dish but if you like Pasta Alfredo, you'll love this delicious recipe.
As a bonus, it takes just ten minutes to make and is a one pot meal so doing the dishes is also easy and clean up is fast too. That makes this recipe an all-round winner.
Six simple ingredients
To serve two
- 6oz. pasta
- 8oz. mushrooms
- Media Crema (table cream) - one third of a cup
- 1 lemon - zested and juiced
- Bunch fresh basil - chopped
- 1 garlic clove - peeled and chopped
Place a pan on a high heat with plenty of water. When this comes to the boil, add the pasta and reduce the heat slightly but keeping the water on a rolling boil. Every type of pasta has different recommendations for the cooking time - the one I used recommends 8 minutes. I take a minute away from that time so cook it for seven minutes only. This gives you time to prepare the mushrooms
These need only to be cleaned and sliced. When the pasta has cooked for seven minutes, add the sliced mushrooms to the pan with the pasta. Often I sauté mushrooms but a minute in the boiling water is all they need and this reduces the calorie count. After a minute in the pan, strain the mushrooms and pasta. Now you can prepare the lovely lemon, garlic and basil topping if you haven't done so when the other ingredients were cooking. It only takes seconds to make!
This is my secret ingredient! It's not always available to buy locally so we buy this online in bulk packs of six or eight cans (it's cheaper that way too). They don't take up much space in the cupboard (I stack them vertically) and I know that I always have some of this ready for when I want to make this dish. It's also great served on desserts too - try it with fresh strawberries.
SO EASY AND QUICK
Add the remaining ingredients to a bowl; the lemon zest and juice, the chopped basil and garlic, then add some freshly ground pepper. Quickly mix them together then put the bowl to one side.
Return the mushrooms and pasta to the pan. Add the cream and stir well, but gently. Leave this on a low to medium heat while you get out your serving bowls and silverware. Cook the pasta and mushrooms in the cream until it's well heated through - this should only take a couple of minutes.
When serving pasta, it's always a good idea to warm the plates or bowls. I do this by running them quicky under hot water then drying them with a cloth. Ladle the pasta into the serving dishes. With a teaspoon, sprinkle the lemon / garlic / basil mixture on top. Serve!
Photographs © me and taken during the making of this delicious dish.
Further reading - Italian vegetarian recipes
I don't know anyone who doesn't like Italian food. And it lends itself to so many meat-free meals. Some of the best specialists in Italian cooking have created beautiful cookbooks with delicious and delightful recipes.
Gourmet pasta to buy online
We love these because they need so little added to make a great meal - it's a shame to hide their delicate flavors with a heavy sauce. Depending on the type I cook, we eat these simply with a little oil, fresh herbs and maybe a touch of Italian cheese. For years we bought these at our local farmers market - until it closed. Now we find that it's more convenience - and less expensive - to buy it online. We've also sent these as gifts - everyone loves Italian food!
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