Spinach Alfredo Pasta
Spinach Alfredo Pasta is a fresh, delicious twist on the classic fettuccine alfredo with a light cream sauce and tender fresh spinach. I’ve made a healthier version before, but this is the real deal with cream, butter, and Parmesan cheese. Plus, adding fresh spinach provides a minutiae of healthy redemption, right?
Homemade Fettuccine Alfredo was my oldest son’s birthday request. Calories aren’t an issue when you’re young…he even had room for a slice of Tiramisu Cheesecake for dessert!
Why You Must Make
- It’s a yummy twist on the classic Roman pasta dish, fettuccine alfredo.
- The recipe was inspired by Mark Bittman, a James Beard Foundation and Julia Child Cookbook award winner.
- It makes a delicious dinner or a side dish with a simple entree.
- Fettuccine – May use linguine or spaghetti instead. Make sure to cook in well-salted water.
- Butter – Salted is fine.
- Heavy Cream – May cut calories by using half and half
- Parmesan Cheese – Finely Grated
- Fresh Spinach – Baby spinach is tender. You may use regular spinach but trim any thick stems.
- Salt, freshly ground Black Pepper, and freshly ground Nutmeg (optional), to taste.
How to Make
- Put a pot of water on the cooktop to boil the pasta.
- Cook the spinach in part of the butter in a skillet, then add the cream, and seasonings and cook for 5 minutes.
- Generously salt the pasta water and cook the pasta till al dente.
- Put the rest of the butter in a heatproof bowl along with a little pasta water.
- Add the pasta and half the Parm to the bowl. Then mix in the spinach cream sauce.
- Serve and offer more Parmesan to garnish.
- Baby spinach is recommended as the stems are inherently tender. If you use regular spinach, remove any tough stems, steam it to soften, then chop and before using.
- Buying pre-washed spinach saves the steps of washing and drying it.
- PRO-Tip: Cook your pasta in well-salted water. The water should be as salty as the ocean, so don’t skimp. Your finished dish will taste better if the pasta is infused with a little salt, an important flavor enhancer.
- Don’t overcook your pasta or it will be mushy. Most pasta packaging has timing recommendations for “al dente” which means “to the tooth.” This is when the pasta is cooked but still has a little resistance when bitten into.
- PRO-Tip: Add a little of the pasta water to the sauce. The salty, starchy water will add flavor along with thickening the sauce.
Frequently Asked Questions
It was created by a Roman restaurant owner, Alfredo di Lello in the 1920s. It was made with pasta and a rich sauce of butter, Parmesan, heavy cream, and flavored with black pepper.
To ensure creamy Alfredo sauce, make sure you use real grated Parmesan, plus don’t overheat or overcook it.
This alfredo is not as saucy as some other recipes. Feel free to add more heavy cream if you prefer more sauce. Just make sure to taste it for seasoning and add a bit more salt and/or Parmesan if needed.
You can use frozen spinach in a pinch. Defrost and squeeze it as dry as you can. Any juice will give your sauce a greenish tinge.
It’s easy to add chicken to your Fettuccine Alfredo. First, use a meat mallet to gently pound your boneless, skinless chicken breasts so they’re an even thickness, then season well on both sides. Salt, pepper, garlic powder, and paprika, or a general seasoning salt would work well.
Saute in olive oil until browned on both sides and cooked through. Slice into strips and arrange over a serving of the pasta. Sprinkle with some minced parsley to serve.
You May Also Like
- Easy Beef Stroganoff with Cognac Cream Sauce
- Spinach Stuffed Shells
- Creamy Sausage Fettuccine
- More of my Best Pasta Recipes
- 10 ounces baby spinach, prewashed
- 4 tablespoons butter, divided
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 1 pound fettuccine
- 1 cup grated Parmesan, divided
- Salt, freshly ground pepper, and freshly ground nutmeg, to taste.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil while making the sauce.
- Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a skillet and add the spinach. Season with salt and pepper and cook until wilted and tender.
- Stir in the cream and simmer for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat while cooking the pasta.
- Add a generous amount of salt to the boiling water, then cook the pasta to al dente according to the package directions.
- Put the rest of the butter in a large mixing bowl, plus a tablespoon or two of the hot pasta water.
- Drain the pasta and add to the bowl along with half the Parmesan and the spinach mixture.
- Taste for seasonings and add more salt and pepper if desired. Add a few gratings of freshly ground nutmeg, too.
- Stir together and serve with the remaining Parmesan.
Nutmeg is a classic seasoning.
Add more heavy cream if you'd like a higher sauce-to-pasta ratio.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 500Total Fat: 30gSaturated Fat: 18gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 86mgSodium: 757mgCarbohydrates: 42gFiber: 3gSugar: 2gProtein: 16g
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