Green Chile Alfredo, Two Ways
Hey there, it's Jess. I am SO extremely excited to share this recipe with you. This week's green chile alfredo involved so many things that I love. A new kitchen tool, a healthy spin, fresh mozzarella cheese and advice from a world-renowned chef to top it all off. I know. An explanation is order. Get comfy, I'm gettin' to it! On any other Tuesday, my day job is simply normal. I'm so fortunate to have a campus job as a college student, but I'm not out there saving lives or anything. But this Tuesday was slightly different (I still didn't save a life). I have the privilege of working in an office alongside high class chefs every day. However, its not every day that my tasks collide directly with theirs.
This Tuesday, Chef Zeck came in and sat down right in front of me. My boss proceeded to tell him that I was planning to make a green chile alfredo and asked if he had any advice for me. He obliged, and told me the necessary process from start to finish, all the while brimming from ear to ear as if he was describing an old friend. The most important nugget of information I gleaned was that you do not NEED butter and flour (in the form of a roux) to make a successful alfredo sauce. He explained all that was needed was heavy cream and good mozzarella cheese (salt and garlic were in the mix also). Just like that, I began to attempt this divine dish. I jotted it down on a post-it note as he was talking, so it was complete with arrows and lovely shorthand, and no measurements at all. My favorite kind of recipe. That's right. I was going to do what I do best--WING IT.
I've been dreaming about a green chile alfredo pasta dish for weeks, and for some reason I kept trying to make it extremely difficult in the effort of creating something amazing. But after hearing the chef wax eloquently about this sauce, I ultimately landed on one of the simplest dishes ever. Really. This dish is SO EASY. I know I say that all the time, but this time I really mean it.
The green chile alfredo sauce only requires 5 ingredients. On top of being super easy, how elegant is this sauce?! I think the act of developing rich flavors with only a few ingredients is the true test of a great cook. All that's left is to choose the noodles that match your mood (Isn't that how everyone chooses noodles?). Feeling classic? Go with the fettuccine noodles. Feeling like something a little lighter? Have a crack at these zoodles!
Have you seen these trendy, health conscious zucchini noodles? I wanted a lightened up version of this traditionally heavy classic, so I decided to try making zucchini noodles (again). I attempted them once before with nothing but a potato peeler and a paring knife. I didn't search for directions, it just seemed like the logical way to make zoodles, since zoodles are so logical.
Much to my delight, I came across the julienne peeler just in time for this recipe! My new favorite kitchen tool saved me so much time. After hearing a buzz about the tool and its quick work of these pseudo-noodles, I searched high and low and finally found this one at Bed, Bath and Beyond. It was amazing! I just held on to the top of the zucchini, and zip-zip-zip, right through. Perfect noodles every time. My julienne peeler did most of the work. You just peel down one side until you reach the seeds, and then flip over and repeat. The center containing the seeds is still perfectly good, it just doesn't stand up as well for noodles.
So after I harvested my noodles (because I'm really domestic and resourceful), I just chopped the remaining zucchini into thin slices that I can throw into a quick saute later. These affectionately dubbed "zoodles" are a growing trend in the Paleo world and among other advocates of healthy lifestyles. Zoodles (and other pseudo-pastas such as spaghetti squash) are a great way to bring the tradition and comfort of pasta into everyday life without regretting it quite as much later.
The butter-less and flour-less sauce turned out thinner than I'm used to, but I really enjoyed the light coating of bold and decadent flavor. I've pictured the noodles separately, but we ended up combining them before we ate. You can eat this dish in so many different ways; zoodles and noodles, just zoodles or just noodles! I really enjoyed mixing the two because the textures were just slightly different and made it a really interesting and new experience with alfredo. Also, a helpful chef's tip: If you get fresh mozzarella and shred it yourself, make sure to plan for all your snacking. It just happens. So have I convinced you of my love for this dish yet? I so enjoyed transforming such a classic and well-known food into something a little bit lighter, with a kick of green chile. I hope you guys enjoy my green chile alfredo too!
- 1 1/2-2 c. heavy cream
- 1/2 c. chopped Hatch Green Chile
- 1 1/2-2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 2 zucchinis (peeled into zoodles)
- 1/4-1/2 package, whole-wheat fettuccine pasta
- Heat a pan to medium-low heat, pour in cream.
- Crush one clove of garlic and drop into the cream, whole, for flavor.
- Bring cream to a boil and let it begin to reduce.
- Once reduced a little bit, stir in mozzarella and chopped green chile.
- Continue to let it reduce.
- Dip a spoon in the sauce. If it coats the back without dripping off completely, it's ready.
- Salt and pepper to taste.
- Toss pasta and zoodles directly in the sauce, and scarf it while it's hot!