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Fettuccine Alfredo with asparagus

By the Editors of Relish Magazine
Fettuccine Alfredo with asparagus
(Photo: Relish Magazine)

It’s not every day the throes of pregnancy inspire a new recipe. But when Alfredo di Lelio’s pregnant wife needed something to soothe her unsettled stomach, her husband, owner of a Roman restaurant, made her plain pasta with butter and Parmesan.

Since its creation more than 100 years ago, Fettuccine Alfredo has gotten richer and creamier. Preparing it tableside at fancy restaurants has become something of a production. At really swank places, it’s tossed with golden forks and spoons.

With only a few ingredients, Fettuccine Alfredo is simple to make and lends itself to lower-fat tweaking. Here, the sauce is made with less butter and cheese and reduced-fat milk is substituted for cream.

Timing is important. The sauce can wait for the pasta, but never the other way around. To reheat the asparagus, place it in colander and drain the hot pasta over the top. The sauce can be covered and kept warm over low heat.

  • 2 cups (1-inch) diagonally sliced asparagus
  • 1 ¾ cups 2-percent reduced-fat milk, divided
  • 1 T plus 2 t all-purpose flour
  • ½ t salt
  • 1⁄8 t coarsely ground black pepper
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg
  • 2 T unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ½ cup (2 ounces) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 8 ounces uncooked fettuccine
  1. Steam asparagus in steamer basket over boiling water 3 minutes or until tender. Set aside.

  2. Whisk ¾ cup of the milk, flour, salt, pepper and nutmeg in a medium saucepan until flour dissolves. Whisk in remaining 1 cup milk. Cook, whisking constantly, over medium-high heat until mixture comes to a boil. Reduce heat, and let simmer, whisking constantly, 2 minutes. Add butter and cheese. Whisk to combine.

  3. Meanwhile, cook fettuccine according to package directions. If asparagus needs reheating, place it in colander and drain hot pasta over the top.

  4. Toss pasta, asparagus and cheese sauce in a large bowl. Serves 4.

— Recipe by Jean Kressy