A couple of years ago, I was at home watching ‘The Chew’ and Daphne Oz was making her own Daphne Oz’s “Alfredo”. At first I was thinking, Cauliflower? For an Alfredo sauce? Really? Honestly it didn’t sound appetizing to me, but I was so curious about what it would taste like that I tried it. Oh my goodness, it was so good! I was pleasantly surprised that the flavor was so similar to traditional Alfredo sauce and the calories were cut by lots of numbers! The first time I went by her recipe and then made it again and again, but made a few minor changes to suit our taste buds. So I wanted to first and foremost, give Daphne Oz credit for inspiring me to make her recipe and broadening my palate to include cauliflower in other healthy dishes!
It’s really easy to make and a dish I plan to serve at my next dinner party in a few weeks. They are going to love it and not feel guilty about it! Add some lemon thyme chicken and a salad… I’ll be in business!
Here’s how I make it.
Cauliflower Alfredo with Linguine
Prepare the linguine according to package instructions in salty water, cooking it one minute less than recommended. You will finish cooking it when you add it to the sauce. Reserve a mug full of the starchy water before you drain it.
In a large sauce pot, put in the cauliflower.
TIP: If you can’t find fresh cauliflower, use frozen! Works just as well since you’re going to be pureeing it in the blender.
Pour the milk over the cauliflower.
Add the salt and fresh cracked pepper.
Cover with a lid, turn on the burner to medium heat and bring to a simmer or a low boil. Do not allow it to come to a full boil or you’ll risk scorching the milk. Reduce the heat to low and cook, covered 6-8 minutes or until it’s fork tender. The time all depends on how large the cauliflower pieces are. The smaller the pieces, the quicker it will be tender.
TIP: Don’t lift the lid too frequently, that allows the steam to escape and causes it to take longer to cook. I suggest lifting the lid after about 5 minutes untouched. Check for tenderness and place the lid back on and cook a couple more minutes.
Meanwhile, let’s saute’ some yellow onion in oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat until they are tender and transparent. This will take about 4-5 minutes. Get out the biggest skillet you have, 16 ounces of linguine will need to fit with the sauce.
Pour in the white cooking wine and bring to a boil. Boil one minute then turn off the burner.
When the cauliflower is good and tender, put it in the blender along with the hot milk and butter.
Blend, covered, on high until it is a saucy sauce. This will only take about one minute.
Add in the ground nutmeg and blend, covered, for another 30 seconds or so. Honestly, you can add the nutmeg when you put in the cauliflower, milk and butter. That’s what my recipe will reflect. I really forgot to do that and added it here and blended it another few seconds.
If you have the fresh nutmeg, it tends to be a little more potent. So, I add less of it than I do the nutmeg that is already ground up in a bottle. Either works fine and the only reason I mention it is, the potency of the fresh makes it take less.
Pour the sauce into the onion and wine mixture. Stir well and bring to a simmer over medium heat.
Depending on how thick your sauce is, you may want to add a little of the reserved pasta water to thin it out a bit. Just use your judgement here. If you like it thinner, add more. If you want it thicker, simmer a little longer. Remember you will be adding the linguine and cooking it another minute or two to heat through, so I have a tendency to make it a little thinner.
Add the linguine and with tongs, toss to coat well and heat through, about 2 minutes. You can also add some of the pasta water here if you feel it needs it.
Turn off the heat, throw in the Parmesan cheese and toss again.
I love love love fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Now, I do have the green canister in my refrigerator, but when I can get me a block of this fresh cheese, I’m in snacking haven! It’s a hard dry salty cheese that satisfies my snacking habit. Slice it up and I just let it melt in my mouth and savor every crumble!
Garnish with some chopped parsley, a little more of that grated Parmesan cheese and that’s dinner for me. I don’t need anything else!
Well, maybe a little grilled chicken breast. That’s a perfect accompaniment.
It may seem that there’s not much cheese in this, but I’m here to tell you that you don’t miss it! Shocking, isn’t it?! So, this makes for a healthy pasta dish with far fewer calories than traditional Alfredo sauce. You just have to try it to believe it!
Tell me what you think about this dish! What would you do different?
Here’s the printer friendly recipe.