Fettuccine Alfredo is a classic restaurant dish that’s also really easy to prepare at home. The one caveat is that it’s incredibly rich – sometimes too rich. And as delicious as it is, I wondered if I could create a lightened up version that relied on herbs and citrus rather than tons of butter, cream and cheese to give it rich flavor. And I think I did it!
I based my sauce on a pasta dish from one of my favorite local restaurants. What makes is special is the hint of orange hidden in the rich Alfredo sauce. So I recreated it using tangy creme fraiche and fresh squeezed orange juice and finely grated zest, along with dried Italian herbs and a little fresh garlic.
Mix the sauce ingredients together in a bowl then add the hot, drained pasta. Let it sit for a few minutes to absorb some of the sauce then serve it with baked chicken and asparagus. It’s not exactly a 30-minute meal, but it comes together faster than the time it takes to drive to a restaurant, wait for a table and order from the menu. Plus it’s every bit as good as anything you’ll get at a restaurant – and you’ll save a zillion calories. Approximately.
For the asparagus, just put it on the same pan as the chicken during the last 10-15 minutes of the baking time and it’s perfect.
Citrus-Herb Marinated Baked Chicken
- Juice of 1 large orange
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- fresh ground black pepper
- 4 about 2 pounds chicken breasts
- Combine orange juice, olive oil, vinegar, herbs, salt and pepper in a shallow baking dish. Place chicken breasts in the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for several hour or overnight. Turn halfway through for even marinating.
- To cook - preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Place the chicken breasts on the lined baking sheet and bake for 30-45 minutes, or until juices run clear and the internal temperature is 160 degrees F. Remove from pan and let stand for a few minutes to allow the juices to be reabsorbed. Thinly slice and serve.
The resulting sauce is pretty darn fantastic. It’s amazing how just a few simple ingredients can create something that tastes so good! I served it up with citrus-herb marinated chicken and quick roasted asparagus. It makes a lot of pasta, so you’ll have plenty for lunch or dinner the next day.
Orange-Herb Creme Fraiche Fettuccine
- 16 ounces fettuccine cooked in salted water according to package directions
- 3 tablespoons fresh squeezed orange juice
- 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
- 1 garlic clove finely minced
- 1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
- 1 cup creme fraiche or heavy cream
- salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
- Whisk zest and juice, creme fraiche, herbs, salt and pepper together in a large serving bowl. Place hot pasta in the bowl with the sauce. Toss to coat. Let stand for a few minutes to allow some of the sauce to be absorbed. The sauce will also thicken from the heat of the pasta. Serve hot.
- Yields: 8 servings