So I went searching for a lighter — yet still yummy — version, and found it in Ellie Krieger’s Chicken-Zucchini Alfredo. Calories are saved with the use of 1% and evaporated skim milk (instead of heavy cream) and less Parmesan. No doubt to bulk up the recipe, and add a little green to your plate, Krieger throws in two zucchini for good measure (which, if you’ve ever had zucchini with Parmesan, you know is a fantastic combination of flavors).
There are quite a few steps in this recipe for such a basic dish. But the result is very good; garlicy, creamy, and hearty, and for 500 calories, this dish makes for a fantastic and filling dinner.
- Kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 medium zucchini (about 8 ounces each), thinly sliced into half-moons
- 4 4-oz thin skinless, boneless chicken breasts
- Freshly ground pepper
- 12 ounces fettucini pasta, preferably whole wheat
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1 cup cold 1% low-fat milk
- 1/2 cup evaporated skim milk (not condensed milk) — be sure to shake the can before you measure!
- 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Heat 1 TBSP olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add 1 clove of the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the zucchini, cover and cook until tender, stirring occasionally, about 6 minutes. Transfer the zucchini to a bowl.
Heat another TBSP oil in the skillet over medium-high heat. Season the chicken with 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper and cook through, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.
Cook the pasta al dente according to the directions on the package. Ladle out a half cup of the pasta water and set aside. Drain the pasta and return it to the pasta pot.
Meanwhile, make the sauce. Whisk the flour into the low-fat milk until it is completely dissolved. Put the remaining TBSP of olive oil in the skillet and heat over a medium-high heat. Add the remaining clove of garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the flour-milk mixture and cook until the mixture begins to boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes more. Add the evaporated milk, 1/2 tsp salt and the cheese and cook, stirring, until the cheese is melted, about 1 minute. Season with additional salt to taste.
Cut the chicken into strips. Toss with the pasta, sauce, zucchini and parsley, adding the reserved pasta water to loosen.