When I was in grade 3, I had a friend named Demetria. The only thing I remember about her is that she had shiny brown hair and was Greek. I also remember going to a sleepover at her house, but the only reason I remember that is because during the sleepover her godparents came and gave her Easter presents and I was so jealous because I didn’t have any godparents to give me Easter presents. Anyways, for the longest time growing up I always associated fettuccine alfredo with Greek food, because Demetria’s mom would pack her a hot thermos of the most amazing Sidekick’s version of fettuccine alfredo for lunch almost every day, and so alfredo and my Greek friend were forever linked together in my grade 3 mind.
Now that I’m all grown up I know that fettuccine alfredo isn’t really of Greek origin and that the Sidekick’s version is not exactly an authentic alfredo. I also know that this recipe I’m sharing with you today isn’t really an alfredo, but instead is a lighter, guilt-free version of an alfredo that still has a rich white sauce that screams comfort food. This broccoli fettuccine alfredo uses milk instead of cream, and won’t make you feel guilty about the fact that you lounged around in your sweatpants watching the Food Network all day instead of going for a run. Don’t worry , I won’t tell
Broccoli Fettuccine Alfredo
16 oz. dry fettuccine
16 oz. frozen broccoli florets
1 clove garlic
1/4 cup butter
4 tbsp. all-purpose flour
3 cups milk
1 cup grated parmesan
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
Begin to boil a large pot of water to cook the pasta. When it reaches a full boil, add the pasta and cook for 7-10 minutes or until al dente. When the pasta is finished cooking, reserve 1/2 cup of the starchy pasta water and then drain the pasta in a colander.
While the pasta is cooking, thaw the broccoli in the microwave and begin to make the parmesan sauce. Mince the garlic and cook it over medium heat in a medium sauce pot with the butter until the garlic has softened slightly (3-5 minutes). Add the flour, stir and cook for 2-3 minutes more. This is the “roux” that will thicken the sauce.
Whisk in the milk. Increase the heat to medium-high. Whisk the milk mixture until it comes up to a light simmer. As soon as it reaches a simmer it will thicken and should be able to coat a wooden spoon (see photos below). Turn the heat off and whisk in the parmesan cheese. Add freshly cracked black pepper, nutmeg, and salt to taste. Make the sauce slightly saltier than you’d prefer if you were eating the sauce alone. Once it’s spread out over the pasta and broccoli it will taste more mild.
Return the cooked pasta to the large pot that it was boiled in (with the burner turned off). Add the reserved pasta cooking water and toss the pasta to loosen it up. Add the thawed broccoli and then pour the parmesan sauce over top. Stir to coat everything in the sauce and then serve!