This zucchini fettuccine alfredo features a healthier remake of the classic sauce (no cream!) with the addition of grilled zucchini, cherry tomatoes and pine nuts.
It’s that time of the year again: zucchini time! We decided not to go crazy with a big garden this year because we started late and there’s a drought here in California which means that water prices are sky high. I had a handful of seed packets that I had picked up for 10 cents each and we ended up planting the seeds to see if they’d sprout and then bought a couple of tomato plants. Turns out ALL the seeds sprouted, we’ve got green beans, a pumpkin vine, snow peas, carrots and of course zucchini and summer squash. This zucchini fettuccine alfredo is a great way to use your garden bounty and I’ve lightened up the sauce too – no cream! Because really, a ton of heavy cream would negate the impact of eating the fresh vegetables.
Let’s talk about the pasta first. The lighter alfredo sauce is made with low fat milk and flavored with plenty of freshly grated parmesan cheese – you can’t use the green can of cheese for this recipe! Plain old fettuccine alfredo, while delicious, can also be a little boring. I’ve livened this version up with grilled zucchini, cherry tomatoes, basil and pine nuts.
I went with a variety of zucchini and summer squash – I like all of the different colors and I cut the squash in a variety of ways for more texture. I grilled my zucchini, but you can always roast or saute it if you don’t want to heat up the grill. I actually grilled my squash the day before when we already had the grill going for that night’s dinner.
After the pasta is cooked and tossed with the alfredo sauce, the grilled zucchini gets mixed in along with cherry tomatoes, basil and some toasted pine nuts. Pretty easy right? It looks more complicated than it actually is. This recipe is a quick one too, it’s ready in about half an hour and it’s really a complete meal, no sides needed!
Now I can see how some of you may be wondering how this meal is kid friendly. I did serve this to my girls in a deconstructed form – they had the plain fettuccine alfredo with the zucchini and tomatoes served on the side and everyone was happy with that. Lately I’ve been cooking in a way where I can easily customize everyone’s food without having to actually make a separate meal for the pickier eaters. This zucchini fettuccine alfredo is an example of a dinner that can be gourmet for the adults and more basic for the kids. Even if you don’t have a bumper crop of zucchini in your yard, it’s definitely worth picking some up to make this dish.
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
- 1 cup low-fat (2%) milk
- Kosher salt and ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons low fat cream cheese
- ¾ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 12 ounces uncooked fettuccine pasta
- 3 cups of zucchini and summer squash, seasoned, thinly sliced and grilled, roasted or sauteed
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
- ¼ cup toasted pine nuts
- ¼ cup thinly sliced basil leaves
- additional grated parmesan for serving (optional)
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil; cook the fettuccine according to the package directions. While the pasta is cooking, make the sauce.
- For the sauce: Melt the butter in a pot over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add in the flour and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon,1 minute. Whisk in the milk, ¾ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper and cook, whisking constantly, until just thickened, about 3-5 minutes. Gradually add the cream cheese parmesan cheese; whisk until melted, about 1 minute.
- Drain the pasta and return it to the large pot. Add the alfredo sauce and toss to coat thoroughly. Stir in the zucchini, tomatoes, pine nuts and basil. Serve immediately with additional parmesan cheese on top if desired.