Written by Kimberley Stakal
Fettuccine Alfredo is a guilty pleasure for anyone indulging in the traditional butter and cheese-laden pasta dish. It's incredibly thick and creamy, oozing with comfort and warmth. In this completely dairy-free version, a butter-less roux and pumpkin puree are called upon to make an Alfredo sauce no less pleasing or comforting. This wholesome entrée is packed with leafy greens and antioxidant-rich pumpkins, with just a hint of indulgence. Try it out on a nippy night with a side of roasted veggies and a Belgian ale or a chilled fruity white wine.
Serves: 4 entrees
½ pound fettuccine
4 cups loosely packed thinly sliced greens (kale, Swiss chard, mustard greens, etc.)
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus a drizzle
2 tablespoons all-purpose unbleached flour
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 ½ cups non-dairy milk of choice
½ cup pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Grated Parmesan cheese (optional)*
Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add fettuccine and cook at a rolling simmer until just under al dente, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 9 minutes. When noodles are almost done, add greens to pot; continue to cook an additional 30 to 60 seconds, until greens turn bright green. Drain pasta and greens, reserving about ½ cup cooking liquid in a small bowl. Toss lightly with a drizzle of olive oil and set aside.
Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium-low. Add flour to saucepan; stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, cook until flour becomes light golden in color, about 2 to 3 minutes. As the mixture cooks, the flour will eventually thicken with the oil and form a Play-Doh-like consistency. Do not walk away as this can burn in an single instant. Add garlic to flour mixture; continue stirring until fragrant, about 30 seconds (garlic will bubble slightly as it cooks into flour mixture).
Slowly add milk to flour mixture, whisking with a wire whisk as you pour. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, whisking constantly. Mixture will slowly thicken as it comes to a boil. Cook until mixture has thickened slightly, about 2 to 3 minutes. Whisk in pumpkin puree and mustard. Reduce to low and whisk until completely smooth.
Season pumpkin sauce to taste with salt and pepper. Test the consistency of the sauce. If too thin, simmer a minute or two longer to thicken it. If too thick, add a bit of reserved pasta cooking water, whisking in just a tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is reached.
To serve, ladle pasta and greens onto serving plates. Top with about ½ cup of sauce and enjoy immediately.
*If you're not strictly vegan, you can finish this dish off with a fresh grating of Parmesan cheese. Otherwise, to keep it vegan, feel free to give it a sprinkle of nutritional yeast. Either way, you can't go wrong.
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All images by Kimberley Stakal