Genius Fettucine

Today’s revelation: I might be a genius.

I made Fettucine Alfredo using no butter or cream; and it was creamy, dreamy and absolutely satisfying in that creamy dreamy way.  Let’s go back to the beginning…

Over the weekend, I had been at Findlay Market, where I picked up some Ohio City Pasta Basil fettucine. I had toyed with the idea of a Caprese pasta or an Asian-style pasta with  fresh basil, cilantro and tons of hot pepper flakes; but alas creamy, dreamy won-out. As much as I love Alfredo, I don’t love the hefty fat and calorie tag that comes with it. I did some thinking on how could I achieve the creaminess of Alfredo without a cup of heavy cream.

Then I thought about avgolemno.  But of course.

Avgolemno is the Greek style of adding an egg to chicken broth to thicken soup without dairy. This is how the traditional Greek Lemon Rice soup is made. If its good enough for soup, its good enough for me.

IMG_5331What you’ll need: Chicken Broth (or Vegetable Broth), fresh Pasta, Parmesan Cheese, Egg, Lemon (mine has been slightly zested), Greek yogurt and Garlic.  See easy-peasy.IMG_5332 IMG_5333

Cook pasta according to package instructions, drain and return to pasta pot.
In a small bowl, beat egg with a bit of freshly squeezed lemon juice, set aside

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In a separate pot, bring chicken broth up to a boil; add the diced garlic clove. Once broth has boil, reduce to a simmer. Slowly add a bit of the heated broth to the egg mixture and whisk well;  this is called tempering the egg so that it won’t turn to scrambled eggs in the pot of broth. Add up to about half-cup of the broth to the egg mixture, whisking steadily.

IMG_5336 IMG_5337Slowly pour the tempered egg mixture back into the pot of simmering broth. Whisk it like a Polaroid picture. At this point, you’ve made avgolemno, yay for you! You can stop right here, add a handful of cooked rice; and call it a day; you’ve made Greek Lemon Rice soup….but I suggest you keep going.

IMG_5338 IMG_5339

Add  sauce to the waiting pasta pot. Keep the heat on low under the pasta to help everything thicken. Be sure to add enough sauce to coat pasta thoroughly. If you have too much sauce; save it for soup. Once the pasta is coated, stir in a dollop of greek yogurt; this just adds a bit more creaminess to the dish.

IMG_5340 IMG_5343Everything should be bubbling and delicious by now. Add the Parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, and stir thoroughly. Turn off heat and plate immediately. Because I had basil pasta, I added a smear of fresh basil pesto; but really this needs nothing more than another sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.

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Genius indeed.

Genius Fettucine Alfredo
4-6 oz fettucine
1.5 c. chicken stock (or Vegetable Stock)
1 garlic clove, diced
1 egg
1 tbs fresh lemon juice
3 oz (about 1/3 c.) non-fat plain greek yogurt
1/4 c. shredded Parmesan cheese
Sea salt and black pepper
Parmesan cheese for serving
Pesto (optional)

In a large pot; bring  6 cups water to a boil, and cook pasta according to package instructions. Once the pasta is al dente, drain and return to the pasta pot. In a separate medium pot, bring chicken broth to a boil, add garlic.  Once chicken broth has boiled; reduce to a simmer.

In a small bowl, whisk lemon juice and beaten egg until foamy.  Slowly add 1/2 cup of the hot chicken broth to the egg mixture in the small bowl, whisking constantly. This is tempering the egg mixture so that the eggs don’t become scrambled when added to the pot. Once the egg mixture has incorporated the broth, slowly add the whole bowl of egg mixture back into the simmering chicken broth pot, whisking steadily.

Pour sauce over pasta, keeping the heat on low, to warm everything through. Add enough sauce as needed to thoroughly coat pasta (you have extra sauce; save it for soup). Stir the greek yogurt into the pasta until smooth. Finally stir in cheese, and a few dashes of sea salt and cracked pepper. Serve immediately. Serves 2.

Serving Suggestions: 
-Add cubed cooked chicken and lightly steamed broccoli florets
-Add poached shrimp and a sprinkle of lemon zest

And if you didn’t think I was a genius for the methodology, check out the stats: 

One serving of Genius Fettucine: 311 calories, 7.5 grams of fat
(as calculated by http://www.myfitnesspal.com)

One lunch portion of Olive Garden Fettucine Alfredo: 800 calories, 48 grams of fat
(as calculated by Olive Garden website)

Yup, genius.

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