A funny thing happens when you break your blender: You have to figure out how to live without it. Waaaaaaaah.
My favorite alfredo sauce requires a little blending as it tends to get lumpy in spots if I’m not vigilant. But when my faithful G&E blender of 7+ years busted on me last week and we’d promised friends who are new parents a pasta meal later that evening, I was forced to improvise.
Luckily I was able to make a few adjustments and even managed to IMPROVE my original alfredo recipe! Love it when that happens. This calls for new recipe sharing time.
My alfredo is based with olive oil instead of butter and requires simple ingredients you likely have on hand right now. Pesto, parmesan cheese, milk, flour, garlic, veggie or chicken stock. That’s it! And it’s so creamy and delicious you wouldn’t believe it’s actually healthy.
This version was inspired by springtime.
The trees are lush, the flowers are in bloom, and the scent of freshly cut grass is in the air. About this, I couldn’t be more excited. My way of celebrating is by making a simple, light pasta with green peas – one of the only green things I’d eat as a kid. Sorry mom.
This sauce is thick and creamy with tons of parmesan-pesto flavor, yet remains light. The veggie stock adds a nice savory boost that pairs perfectly with any pasta. I chose linguine as it’s my favorite canoodle, but any shape will do.
How is there no blending or pureeing required? I add the flour and whisk it with the olive oil and garlic BEFORE I add any liquid. Then a spatula helps mash everything together so I can forgo any blending.
Hooray for simplicity, no?
While peas remain the primary addition to this pasta, you can also add some grilled chicken for more protein, or even some toasted walnuts or pine nuts for a little vegetarian staying power.
I served mine with extra parmesan on top, a little garlic bread and the leftover peas, which I steamed and lightly seasoned. If this isn’t the perfect spring/summertime meal, I don’t know what is.
Butter-Less Alfredo with Peas
- 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic (minced)
- 2-4 Tbsp all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup 2% milk
- 1 cup vegetable stock (DIY or store-bought)
- 1 Tbsp. pesto any kind (I used basil)
- 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper (plus more for additional seasoning)
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 cup green peas (if frozen, set out an hour before to thaw slightly)
- 3/4 box box whole grain pasta (such as linguine)
- Cook pasta according to package instructions.
- Meanwhile, heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Once hot, add olive oil and garlic, stirring quickly to ensure it doesn’t burn.
- Next, reduce heat slightly and add flour (starting with lower end of range // 2 Tbsp as original recipe is written) and whisk to combine. Cook for about a minute and then add veggie stock and milk and use a flat spatula to mash the flour into the liquid.
- Add salt, pepper, pesto, grated parmesan cheese and stir. Cook on medium heat until it bubbles, and then reduce heat to low-medium heat and cook until thickened. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed – I usually add a bit more salt and pepper toward the end.
- If you notice the sauce is too thick, add a little more milk or broth. If too thin, add a little more flour and whisk to combine. Alternatively, you can thicken with more parmesan cheese.
- Once sauce is ready, add the peas and stir. Then add the drained cooked pasta and toss to combine, adding more salt and pepper if needed. Serve immediately with additional parmesan cheese on top. Garlic bread and steamed broccoli or peas are excellent additions to this simple dish.