21 June 2009

"Light" Fettuccine Alfredo with Roasted Asparagus & Garlic Scapes


When at the farmers market this past weekend I did my usual rounds of my favourite producers. I always begin my Saturday morning during market days with a flavourful crepe made by a lovely woman originally from Quebec. She will even squeeze me some fresh lemonade to go with my favourite savory crepe, a combination of cheeses, cheese curds and pesto. "Bonjour", I say, with which she responds with a flurry of French. This is where I smile and nod:D "Merci", I say. Some day I will try her fruit concoctions but those would limit my ability to wander and chat with our local farmers since I would need a knife and a fork.

This Saturday saw the first cherries of the season so I popped some in my environmentally friendly bag along with fresh basil, asparagus, Spring lettuce mesclun mix, fresh dill, lemon balm, some garlic scapes and early beets. I also made my usual plea for our local farmers to see the value in having zucchini flowers available. I may have convinced one farmer, but the rest have no imagination and see them only as a loss. Everyone of them says, "If you take the flower there will be no zucchini." Don't they realize that there comes a point when they will be selling their zucchini for a few measly cents just to get rid of them because of overabundance??? Let's say I am still working on them:D

If you grow your own garlic or have a good farmer’s market, then you can enjoy a new kind of vegetable..... garlic scapes. The scapes are the flower stems that garlic plants produce before the bulbs mature. Growers often remove the scapes to push the plant’s energy toward bigger bulbs, and when harvested while they are young and tender. The scapes are delicious with a mild garlic flavour so why not use them!!!

To use my Spring produce I came up with this recipe which of course is on the "light" side. It's wonderful flavours come from the Neufchatel cheese, if you can find it, and the sauteed mushrooms and garlic scapes. If Neufchatel is unavailable please substitute "light" cream cheese. The sauce is made so quickly with just the "zip" of the blender. What could be more perfect on these hot summer days. As with all Alfredo dishes serve immediately.

I am submitting this dish to Ruth over at Once Upon a Feast . As always I neglect pasta far too often, but, I do try and join in on the fun whenever I do over at Presto Pasta Nights. Kait of Pots and Plots is this week's host so do visit her blog when you have the chance!!!! Check back on Friday at Pots and Plots for the roundup of delicious pasta dishes!!!

**Fettuccine Alfredo with Roasted Asparagus & Garlic Scapes**
Printable Recipe

2 cups 1% low-fat milk
1/3 cup (3 ounces) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese (Neufchatel)
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (4 ounces) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1 teaspoon butter
3 - 4 garlic scapes, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
5 - 6 medium sized mushrooms, sliced
1 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces (about 2 cups)
Cooking spray
16 ounces uncooked fettuccine
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

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Preheat oven to 425°.

Combine first four ingredients in a blender; process until smooth.

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add garlic scapes and saute approximately 4 minutes until wilted. Add mushrooms; sauté 30 seconds. Add milk mixture to pan; cook 3 minutes or until mixture simmers, stirring constantly. Cook 2 minutes or until thickened, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; stir in cheese. Cover.

Place asparagus on jelly-roll pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 425° 10 minutes or until browned, stirring once.

Cook fettuccine according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain well.

Place pasta and asparagus in a large bowl. Add cheese mixture, tossing well. Add pepper; toss gently.

Serve immediately.

Serves 8 (serving size: 1 cup)

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30 comments:

  1. I enjoy hearing your stories from the market Val!...always great to "peek" into someone else's shopping routine. This is a lovely light sauce...I need to experiment with scapes a little more.

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  2. Sounds delightful. I'm particularly jealous about the cherries and the garlic scapes...not together though.

    Being in Montreal, I know I'll be having some thin crepes while we're here.

    Thanks for sharing the fettucine with Presto pasta Nights.

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  3. Very nice plate of pasta, Val, and I appreciate that you vegged=it-up and worked at lowering the calories in the sauce. Makes eating it less guilt-inducing :)

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  4. Hooray for cherries!!! And I really want to try garlic scapes...this pasta looks delish :)

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  5. My friend told me yesterday that they veg shop around the corner from me is selling whole boxes of cherries for £2.00, so that's where I'm off to today to see if they have any left. I might make some jam.

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  6. Your market sounds so wonderful and sophisticated compared to our little organic one here. My gosh, what I miss not living in a city.
    Your pasta looks incredible. And light too.

    Do you know what the difference is between Neufchatel and light cream cheese? I've never seen Neufchatel in anything but a block and usually light cream cheese is whipped.
    Sam

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  7. I just picked up some asparagus as peas last night on my way home from Michigan. I was thinking risotto but now you have me thinking something along this lines. Nicely done!

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  8. Thanks very much guys!!
    Got to have the crepes Ruth!!!
    Wuth my asparagus I made risotto, pesto, and soup!! All delicious!!

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  9. great market-thats it! I am on a mission to get some garlic scapes...you won me over

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  10. I understand the desire for zucchini flowers. They don't carry them at any farmer's market I ever go to and I want to try them so badly!

    I finally tried garlic scapes a couple fo weeks ago. While they didn't have them at the farmer's market, they did have them at Whole Foods. I had fun making them into a very interesting pesto.

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  11. I love this pasta and especially your use of garlic scapes! Cooking with them now too :)

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  12. I love garlic scapes! Once I start eating them, I find it's hard to stop!

    Your pasta looks so yummy!

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  13. A trip to the farmers market is always a good time. We like to stroll along, admiring veggies/fruits and eat samples. When you leave with a nice treasure, it's the best. This looks like a great meal.

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  14. This looks delicious! If I can do PPN this week I will be happy. Not sure if I can get to it. I have T&C to do by Wednesday! Just so much going on! ;-)

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  15. Garlic scapes are a favourite of mine and that beautiful hint of garlic in the alfredo ... well, you wouldn't have to ask me twice for dinner.

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  16. Thanks for sharing your Farmer's Market experience - those crepes sound wonderful! Your pasta looks great!

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  17. Stunning meal! I'm not sure which looks more beautiful though...those gorgeous flowers or that yummy Watermelon Margarita (that is calling my name)! Lovely presentation...

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  18. Ooo this sounds like the perfect meal for me! I love alfredo sauce, pasta, roasted asparagus... and I'm sure I'd love garlic scapes! Yum.

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  19. Never seen garlic scapes before. If I go your way I have to stop at this market and talk to the French lady (and also eat her crêpes). Nice dish Val.

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  20. that looks great, thanks for the recipe!

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  21. This looks delicious! I gotta get some of those garlic scapes! Love your photo Val!

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  22. This was so much fun to do. It was a joy to learn more about Heather my BBFF and explore a little deeper into Mexican cuisine.

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  23. I love Farmer's Market finds! I discovered scapes two weeks ago and used them in pesto. I can only imagine how good they were in this pasta as well. I want my market to have zucchini flowers also! We should make a petition.

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  24. Looks and sounds lovely! Can I send my kids over for some of that pasta...!! And pack some for me too!

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  25. Fettucine Alfredo, scapes, mushrooms AND asparagus... ooooh that sounds like heaven!

    -Elizabeth

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  26. What you do is go around, talk to people, get your stuff and then get the fruit when you are about to leave! Your pasta looks very good too. It's getting starred for a cooler day.

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  27. I just bought scapes for the first time today. Power of suggestion from looking at your blog, I think.

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  28. This sounds delicious. I loved you story about the farmers market too. This is the second time this week I have read about garlic scape- I guess now I have to try them! Stopping by from PPNs.

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  29. Days at the market mean "fun day" and I enjoyed garlic scapes recently this Spring as well. This pasta dish is a wonderful place to use them.

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  30. This sounds like a nice way to enjoy garlic scapes!

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Welcome to my home. Thank you so much for choosing to stay a while and for sharing our lives through food. I appreciate all your comments, suggestions, daily encouragement and support.

Val

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