Recipe by LonghornMama
From the August 2006 issue of Cooking Light, this is one of their lightened recipe makeovers, also one of the magazine's monthly "greatest hits." Very thick, smooth and cheesy sauce with lots of bacon. You won't believe this is the light version! I plan to use the sauce as a base and experiment with roasted red peppers, grilled chicken, shrimp...the possibilities are endless! I used plain old fresh grated Parmesan cheese.
Top Review by Grossen's Girl Chef
Great recipe! I was looking for a recipe with spinach and cream cheese that my sister made when I was 13 years old. When I found this, I felt so amazing because I had all the ingredients and it is pretty light. Then I made the recipe (but with spaghetti) for my friends and they loved it! Maybe it was too much time to finish the recipe but I was delicious. The bacon adds a really good final touch :)
- 1 lb fettuccine pasta, uncooked (reserve 1/2 cup pasta water)
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1⁄4 cup reduced-fat cream cheese
- 3⁄4 cup reduced-sodium fat-free chicken broth
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 3⁄4 cup grated fresh pecorino romano cheese (3 oz.) or 3⁄4 cup asiago cheese (3 oz.) or 3⁄4 cup parmigiano-reggiano cheese (3 oz.)
- 3⁄4 cup half-and-half
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1⁄2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
- 1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained, and squeezed dry
- 10 slices cooked bacon, crumbled (center cut bacon, about 1 1/4 cups)
- parsley sprig (optional)
Directions See How It's Made
- Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain pasta, reserving 1/2 cup pasta water.
- Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic; saute 30 seconds. Add reserved pasta water and cream cheese, stirring with a whisk until smooth.
- Combine broth and flour in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk to combine; bring to a boil. Cook 2 minutes or until mixture thickens, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; add pecorino Romano, stirring until smooth. Add half-and-half, salt and pepper. Stir in spinach.
- Combine cheese mixture and pasta in large bowl, tossing to coat. Place about 1 cup pasta mixture in each of 8 bowls; top each serving with 2 1/2 tablespoons bacon. Garnish with parsley, if desired.