Living in New York City is an adjustment. I wake up earlier, I go to sleep later – but that’s not quite enough to fully explain the exhaustion I feel at the end of every day.
It’s like the city has some kind of super-powered vacuum sucking away all of the day’s hours while I turn my back. Then before I know it, I’m lying on my hardwood floor covered in banana bread batter, asking myself if this is an appropriate time and place to take a quick nap.
People tell me that my body just needs some time to adjust to New York. There’s no such thing as an “always on” mode in Austin, Texas – and until I can figure out the best way to balance everything, I’ve got to learn to take care of myself.
Or so says the Jewish grandmother in me.
Except that I’m not Jewish.
Or a grandmother.
Unless, of course, my dogs have some illegitimate, yet totally adorable fuzzballs running around that they’d like to tell me about.
Nevertheless, I listened to the voice of the awesome Jewish grandma that I wish I was and/or had, and Sunday, I made this pasta. It’s lightened and wonderful, and exactly the kind of thing I want when I come home from work, have to walk the dogs, and have no time to walk 20 minutes to the grocery store, then back.
This dish is awesome. And by awesome, I mean cheap, easy to heat, keeps well, and does not make you feel like rolling yourself to the gym later. Which pretty much sums up all the important qualities I am looking for in a meal these days.
The best part is that you can adjust the dish to suit your mood. The sauce works perfectly with half the amount of pasta for a more decadent, yet still very much lightened dish. But if you feel like I do lately, and perhaps the heartburn monster has taken up residence in your throat, you can use double the pasta to make the dish both lighter and less expensive per serving.
Now go make some pasta.
Lightened Fettuccine Alfredo
- 1 Tbsp butter
- 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
- 1/2 tsp lemon zest
- 1 1/2 tsp flour
- 1c 1% milk
- 3 Tbsp heavy cream
- 2 Tbsp cream cheese
- 1/4 c parmesan
- 1/4 c fresh basil, chopped
- 8oz-16oz fettuccine or linguine (Depending on just how “light” you want the recipe to be. I used 16 oz because I was in the mood for something very light. On a normal night, I’d probably use 12. On an indulgent night, 8. It’s all up to you!)
- Salt, fresh ground pepper
Cook pasta according to directions on package.
Melt butter in a non-stick pan over medium heat.. Add garlic and lemon zest, and cook for about 30 seconds until fragrant. Whisk in flour, quickly and constantly. Gradually add in milk, whisking all the while. Whisk for 3-4 minutes, until thickened. Add cream, then stir in cream cheese and parmesan until the melt into the sauce. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add pasta to the pan, and toss to coat. Garnish with basil and serve.