This Lightened Up Spaghetti Alfredo with broccoli is creamy, cheesy and decadent but much healthier than the original so you can feel good about eating it.
*This post was originally published on 2/28/2012. The pictures and recipe have been updated but the text below remains original. This Lightened Up Spaghetti Alfredo is restaurant quality without the guilt (or stupidly high price you’re stuck paying for pasta dishes when you eat out!). It’s ready in just 20 minutes and sure to be a comfort food crowd pleaser. Hope you enjoy!
This looks like a creamy heart attack on a plate doesn’t it? Oh, but it’s soooo not. Which means you can shovel forkful after forkful of delicious pasta into your mouth without that nagging feeling in the back of your mind about how bad of a decision it is.
Alfredo sauce is that restaurant dish that haunts you. It’s the thing you know is absolutely horrible for you when you’re staring at the menu but your brain refuses to let go of the idea of the delicious creamy sauce. So, you throw caution to the wind, order the butter and cream laden dish and then before you know it you’re shoving half the contents of the bread basket down your throat and ordering tiramisu for dessert since you’ve completely thrown any attempts of healthy eating out the window for the night anyway.
More decadent but healthy pasta recipes: creamy tomato farfalle with peas and prosciutto, creamy butternut squash pasta with sage and mushrooms or pasta checca with burrata.
It happens. Right?
Please say it’s not just me?
The alfredo bug bit me hard yesterday and before I knew it, things were coming out of the pantry and fridge and I was determined to show the sauce who’s boss with this lightened up spaghetti alfredo.
See that measly 1 tablespoon of butter? That’s it for the “bad stuff” in this recipe. Total creaminess achieved and barely a dent in my butter stash. Good for the wallet and for your heart.
The rest of the creaminess comes from a combination of low fat milk, cream cheese and parmesan. Needing heavy cream or half and half for that alfredo taste is a total myth, don’t be fooled!
From prep to roux to finished product this whole thing takes under 20 minutes.
Beats the restaurant wait and there’s no bread basket or dessert menu to tempt you.
Lightened Up Spaghetti Alfredo
This lightened up spaghetti alfredo with broccoli is creamy, cheesy and decadent but much healthier than the original so you can feel good about eating it.
- 1/2 pound whole wheat spaghetti, or similar noodle
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 shallot, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 1/4 cup 1% or 2% milk
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 4 ounces low-fat cream cheese or neufchatel
- 2.5 cups broccoli florets
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add spaghetti. Cook until 2 minutes before al dente.
- While pasta is cooking, melt butter in a large skillet with raised sides over medium heat.
- Add shallots and garlic once butter is melted and cook for 2-3 minutes until softened.
- Add flour and whisk together, cook about 30 seconds.
- Slowly add milk, whisking constantly.
- Add salt, pepper and nutmeg and continue to whisk until thickened, about 2-3 minutes.
- Once thickened, add cheeses and stir until melted and incorporated.
- At this point (2 minutes before pasta is done cooking), add broccoli to the pot with the pasta and cook for remaining 2 minutes.
- Drain pasta and broccoli in a colander and pour into skillet with alfredo sauce.
- Toss to fully coat pasta with sauce and garnish with additional parmesan, parsley, red pepper flakes and/or toasted panko breadcrumbs.
*Use gluten-free pasta to make this dish gluten-free.