I found this recipe in my mom's ward cookbook and just had to try it. I have a sudden and unexplainable need to try every recipe that includes asparagus, which is odd, because my parents could never get me to try it while I was growing up.
I have to admit, I was slightly worried about the cream sauce - I've been trying to start a diet for months now - but some awesome new recipe always gets in my way! However...it hardly uses any cream or butter compared to some recipes I've made. The end result is a very light, cheesy taste. Besides - the veggies cancel out any of the bad calories. Trust me.
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt (for cooking pasta), plus 1/4 tsp for sauce
2 Tbsp butter
1 or 2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 c. chicken broth
1 lb. asparagus, cut into 1 inch pieces (upper half of spears only)
1 small zucchini or summer squash, cubed
1/2 c. finely diced carrot
1/2 c. diced red or yellow bell pepper
1/2 cup heavy cream
3/4 lb. fettuccine
1 c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
In a large pot, combine 3 to 4 quarts of water, olive oil and salt, then bring to a boil. Meanwhile in another pan, melt the butter over low heat. Stir in the garlic and warm gently for 1 minute. Add the broth, veggies and 1/4 tsp of salt. Bring the mixture to a simmer. Cover the pan and continue to simmer the veggies undisturbed for 3 minutes, then stir in the cream.
Remove the pan (with the veggies) from the heat and leave it covered. Add more salt to taste if needed. Once the water has reached a boil, gradually add the fettuccine to it. Cook the past according to the package, then drain. Quickly bring the veggies back to a simmer then add the drained pasta. Continue to simmer the mixture over medium-low heat for 3 to 4 minutes while carefully tossing the noodles up from the bottom of the pan with tongs or 2 forks. Remove the pan from the heat and sprinkle in half of the Parmesan cheese. Toss once more. Serve at once using the parsley and remaining cheese for garnish.
Serves 4 to 5
*I've made this a couple of times now and I can tell you that substituting fat free half and half for the heavy cream doesn't work very well. Stick with the heavy cream - it's much better. The veggies and sauce will be pretty soupy until you add the Parmesan cheese at the end. Once you do, the cheese soaks up some of the sauce and makes it a bit creamier.