I cannot recall my mother ever serving Alfredo sauce to us when I was a kid. Sad, I know. She probably thought it wasn't healthy enough or something. What a misguided lady. She meant well, though.
When I was in college, different student groups would sponsor "skip-a-meals"--meals where you'd sign your student ID away so that the money that would have been spent on that meal would be donated to a starving child somewhere. I guess the idea was that you'd fast for that meal--and not only would you be giving money towards the cause, you'd be experiencing the hunger these poor children must be feeling. Well, almost everyone would sign their ID away, because who wants to be the only student who was selfish enough to take food from a starving kid's mouth? But almost everyone skipped the fasting part of it and simply went out to eat that night, because college kids are nothing if not sacrificial. And hungry.
So on skip-a-meal evenings, we routinely made the trek to Fazoli's in Marion and feasted on all the free breadsticks they would throw at us. And while I had never had Alfredo sauce before, for some reason, when we were there at Fazoli's, it sounded delicious. The first time, I ordered it with chicken, broccoli, and tomatoes, and it turned out to be so wonderful, it became my standard order.
Years later, I no longer skip meals unless I'm in a coma (which is hardly ever), but I do still enjoy Alfredo sauce. In fact, Fettuccine with Chicken, Broccoli, and Alfredo is a favorite in our house. But my mom was right (I assume--she usually is); Alfredo sauce is not what you'd call healthy. There were years in the 90s when it was referred to as "Heart Attack on a Plate," which is probably not far from the truth.
So when I stumbled upon this recipe from the Kraft Kitchens, I had to give it a try. Fortunately, it turned out to be a very, very tasty way to enjoy Alfredo Sauce with only a fraction of the guilt.
(Or the high price at the grocery store.)
Best of all, it's extraordinarily easy, takes about 5 minutes to make, and requires things you most likely have on hand.
1 1/4 c. chicken broth (I use Better Than Bouillon, and it's the best--and the most economical)
1/4 c. flour
1/3 c. softened 1/3 fat Neufchatel cheese (in the Cream Cheese section)
3 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese (or more, if you like)
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper (I bumped up the amount of pepper because I like my Alfredo peppery, but you can reduce it if you're so inclined)
2 Tbsp. parsley
Whisk together the chicken broth and flour in a medium sauce pan.
Stir in cream cheese, Parmesan, nutmeg, and pepper. Cook over medium heat, stirring with a wire whisk constantly, for 2 minutes, or until mixture boils and thickens.
Add parsley; toss with pasta. Garnish pasta with additional Parmesan and parsley.
Makes 4 servings.