September 12, 2013

Lighter Fettuccine Alfredo with Spice-Rubbed Chicken

It's still raining!! I am so thrilled. I am in my element. I should live in Seattle. Or England. Unfortunately, just a little ways away, Boulder is being horribly flooded!! Roads washed out and blocked, homes flooded, schools, canceled, it's awful! Almost makes me feel bad for loving this rain so much... Keeping them in my prayers... But I still love it :) 

Lighter Fettuccine Alfredo with Spice-Rubbed Chicken (adapted from Cooks Illustrated)
Printable Recipe
Serves 4

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts sliced in half lengthwise (to make 4 very thin pieces)
1 1/2 teaspoon paprika
3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon onion powder

Mix all of the spice ingredients together thoroughly. Pat chicken dry with paper towels and cover both sides with spice rub.

Heat a non-stick pan or skillet with about a Tb of olive oil over medium high-high heat. Place chicken breasts in pan cook through. Careful not to crowd the pan! When cooked through, remove to a plate or cutting board and let rest 5 minutes, then serve sliced over pasta.

3/4 cup half-and-half
1/8 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cornstarch
9 ounces fresh fettuccine (you can use dried, but fresh makes a HUGE difference in this dish!)
1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano 
black pepper

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add about a teaspoon of salt to the water.

While the water is heating, bring 1/2 cup of the half-and-half, the nutmeg, and 1/2 teaspoon salt to a simmer in a large saucepan. Whisk the cornstarch and remaining 1/4 cup half-and-half together, then whisk it into the simmering mixture. Continue to simmer the sauce, whisking constantly, until it has thickened slightly, about 1 minute. Cover and set the pot off the heat.

When the water is boiling, add the pasta. Cook according to package instructions, then drain, keeping 1/2 cup of the cooking water.
Return the half-and-half mixture to medium-low heat and whisk in the pasta cooking water. Slowly whisk in the Parmesan until melted. Add the pasta and cook, coating the pasta evenly with the sauce, until the sauce has thickened slightly, about 1 minute. Season with pepper to taste. Divide the pasta among the bowls, and serve immediately!
 Okay, so at first glance, this looks complicated. It really isn't, I promise. If you're doing it all by yourself, it will probably take 30 minutes. If you're lucky enough to have a kitchen helper, and one of you does chicken while the other does pasta, it's a snap!! Just make sure you're ready to eat immediately, this does not sit or reheat well at all.
 Sure, it's still half and half, but that's better than full cream!! Still plenty smooth and creamy and delicious. The chicken all by itself is actually pretty spicy, but if you eat it WITH the pasta, it's perfect. A wonderful balance of creamy and seasoned savory-ness. Oh, and start with small servings. It's very filling!
Better than any restaurant alfredo I've had. Definitely. 


  1. Can you believe I've never had Alfredo??? I Know! What rock have I been hiding under! This looks fab and I love that it is lighter.

    I wish I could send some of our rain over to you, although with flooding in Colorado you probably don't need it!

    Love you to bits girl! xxoo

  2. I wish I could have this for lunch today. Alfreado is one of my great loves lol

  3. I love alfredo! I just never knew how to make it. I always bought it in the jar and it never had decent flavor. Thank you for posting this. I would have to remove or lighten the dose of cayenne, but the chicken rub sounds awesome!

    1. Well here you go then! This is lots easier than it looks and sounds, pretty foolproof, just don't let it cool off! Playing with spices on the chicken is a great idea. I thought it would be too spicy when I tasted just the chicken, but it really is yummy with that creamy sauce!


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