Recipe: Creamy Zucchini Fettuccine

Recipe: Creamy Zucchini Fettuccine

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Leanne Brown
Aug 12, 2015
(Image credit: Kimberley Hasselbrink)

Everyone should learn to make fettuccine Alfredo at home. It’s remarkably easy, and shockingly better than what you’re likely to get in an average restaurant. This version adds zucchini to the mix and cuts back on the butter and cream, making a lighter, more interesting flavor.

Delicious as fettuccine Alfredo is, after the first few bites, it gets a little boring, as it’s just richness, salt, and cream. With zucchini invited to the party, you get tang, along with some extra texture. The chile flakes don’t hurt either.

(Image credit: Kimberley Hasselbrink)

Oh, and did I mention this comes together in about 20 minutes? Just chop the veggies while you wait for the pasta water to boil. You’ll love it, I promise.

→ Meal Cost: $3.60 total, or $1.80 per person

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A Week of Budget-Friendly Summer Meals from Leanne Brown

Tester's Notes

Who can resist cheesy, creamy Alfredo sauce? This summery version adds zucchini, a hefty dose of chile flakes if you like spice, and some lemon to brighten it all up. It comes together quickly — in the time it takes for the fettuccine to boil, the vegetables can be sautéed and the creamy sauce put together. It's a comforting pasta dish that can be made on a busy weeknight.

- Christine, August 2015

Creamy Zucchini Fettuccine

Serves 3 (or 2 very hungry people)

Salt, to taste
8 ounces fettuccine
4 tablespoons butter
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon chile flakes, to taste
2 small zucchini, finely diced
Zest of 1 lemon
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup grated Romano or Parmesan cheese
Pepper, to taste

Sprinkling of finely chopped fresh basil, optional

Bring a pot of water to a boil over high heat. Salt the water liberally. This is how pasta gets its flavor, so don’t be shy! Most of the salt won’t end up in the pasta.

Cook the pasta according to the package directions. I drain the pasta just before it’s finished so it doesn’t get mushy when I add it to the vegetable pan, where it gets cooked a little more.

Meanwhile, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and chile flakes. Let them sizzle for 30 seconds to a minute, then add the zucchini. Stir the vegetables to coat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until some of the water has cooked off and the veggies are tender, 5 to 7 minutes; young summer zucchini doesn’t need much cooking. Add the lemon zest and stir.

Drain the fettuccine and add it to the pan, along with the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter, the cream, and most of the cheese. Toss the fettuccine around the pan, and add salt and lots of freshly ground pepper to taste. Top with a bit more cheese and a sprinkling of basil, if using, and serve immediately.

Reprinted with permission from Good and Cheap: Eat Well on $4/Day by Leanne Brown, copyright (c) 2015. Published by Workman Publishing Company.

(Image credit: Leanne Brown)

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