With the weather heating up and pool season approaching you will start to find some lighter recipes on this blog along with all the other decadent dishes. Cooking light can be quite a challenge for a lot of people. One of the biggest complaints of "cooking light" are the pre-conceived misconceptions that meals will taste boring and bland. If that was the case, my family wouldn't eat any of it but since no meal in our house has ever gone uneaten, I can assure you cooking light, done the right way, is anything but boring and bland.
A lot of times eating light in the summer time is quite easy for us. My husband is amazing on his grills (yes grills, he has several). So many times it is a simple side salad and a grilled "white" meat like chicken, pork, or seafood. But sometimes despite the heat of the southwest I crave comfort food that is rich and creamy tasting. When I found Ellie Krieger's recipe I knew I had to make it. With a few substitutions I had cooked a fantastic meal that was very well received all the way around.
The recipe is pretty straight forward and comes together in about 30 minutes which is always great, since I don't like spending as much time in the kitchen when the weather is so nice. This dish has all the flavor and taste that a "normal" Alfredo recipe would have but with a lot less fat. If you are trying to eat healthier and don't want to give up comfort then give this recipe a try. You can find Ellie's original recipe on Food Network or if you like my substitutions you can try my version.
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 (about 1 pound) zucchini, thinly sliced into half-moons
5 (4 ounce) thin skinless, boneless chicken breasts
Kosher Salt and Pepper
16 ounces fettuccine
2 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups cold low-fat (1%) milk
1 1/2 cups (12 ounce can) low-fat evaporated milk
1 1/2 cups freshly shredded Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion, cook until translucent, then add 1 clove garlic and cook for another 30 seconds. Add the zucchini, cover and cook until tender, stirring, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.
Heat another tablespoon oil in the same skillet over medium-high heat. Season the chicken with kosher salt and pepper and cook through, 4 to 7 minutes per side depending on thickness of meat. Transfer to a plate.
Cook the pasta in the boiling water as the label directs. Drain, reserving 1 cup cooking water; return pasta to the pot to keep warm.
Meanwhile, whisk the flour and low-fat milk in a bowl. Place the remaining 1 clove garlic and 1 tablespoon olive oil in the skillet and cook over medium-high heat, 30 second. Add the flour-milk mixture and bring to a boil, stirring. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Add the evaporated milk, salt to taste and the cheese; stir to melt, about 1 minute.
Cut the chicken into strips. Toss with the pasta, sauce, zucchini-onion mixture and parsley, adding the reserved pasta water as needed to loosen (you might only need 1/2 to 3/4 cup). Serve immediately.
Adapted from: Ellie Krieger for Food Network Magazine