There is absolutely nothing healthy about this recipe. I promise. And really, it’s to such an extent that I had a bit of a moral dilemma about posting this recipe. I try to cook pretty healthy things, and although you see some sweets and rich foods around here pretty often, these are not the things that make up most of our diet. And this? This is deceptively good and looks like something you could have for dinner any old night, but I’ll just tell you: don’t. Unless you want to buy the next size up in pants.
I’m sharing it with you anyway though, because it is incredible. And simple. This was probably one of the first “recipes” I learned to make on my own in college when I realized I needed some kind of pasta sauce in my repertoire considering my dislike of tomatoes. I pulled it somewhere off the internet, from here actually, and the caption underneath says that the guy’s girlfriend wants him to cook it about once a week, in which case I wonder how many new pairs of pants they have bought.
There are all kinds of ways that you can slim this down. You can use low fat cream cheese and substitute milk for some of the half and half, and all that is fine if you want to eat this more often. But what I have learned is that I would rather have it this way, with all its fat and richness, a couple of times a year than have it in a less fattening way on a more regular basis. It’s just not worth it when you know what the real thing can taste like.
And the real thing is better than any alfredo sauce I’ve had in a restaurant. It is creamy and thick and buttery and I find myself using thinner pasta than fettucine because I want a high sauce to noodle ratio. The chicken is simple: just chicken breast cut up and seasoned with salt and pepper and dried basil and sauteed in olive oil until it’s done. And while it’s not the star of the show, it’s a nice addition that makes you feel at least a little bit better about your dinner choice. Just don’t make this choice too often, as much as that leftover sauce calls to you from the freezer.
Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo
sauce adapted from cooks.com
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
For the sauce:
1/2 cup butter
8 oz. cream cheese, cut into cubes
1 cup half and half
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Pinch of garlic powder
Pinch of pepper
For the chicken:
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 lb. fettuccine noodles*
Parmesan cheese, for topping
1. Begin by making the sauce. In a medium-sized saucepan melt the butter over medium heat. Once the butter has melted, add the cubed cream cheese and whisk until the cream cheese is melted and incorporated (the butter tends to want to separate from the cream cheese, but keep whisking and it will come together). Add the half and half and Parmesan cheese and whisk until smooth. Then stir in the garlic powder and pepper.
2. Lower the heat to low to keep it warm while the chicken and pasta cook, stirring occasionally to prevent a film from forming on top of the sauce.
3. Place the cubed chicken in a medium-sized bowl and season with the salt, basil, and pepper. Stir and make sure all of the chicken pieces are seasoned.
4. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the chicken, cooking for about 2-3 minutes on each side, until the chicken is golden brown and cooked through. Remove from the skillet and place on a plate lined with a paper towel to drain.
5. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat (preferably while the chicken is cooking). Add the fettuccine and cook until al dente, usually about 10-12 minutes. Drain the pasta.
6. Place the desired amount of pasta on each plate. Top with chicken, alfredo sauce, and extra cheese. Or make one big bowl of pasta with everything combined. Serve hot.
*Fettuccine is what’s classic here, but I often use linguine or even thinner noodles for a higher sauce to noodle ratio.