10 February 2009

Seafood Fettucine Alfredo and Tofu Caesar Dressing: A Healthy Makeover

If I haven't already mentioned it, I'm a sucker for Italian food. When I make pastas at home, I rarely ever use the traditional semolina pasta but rather opt for whole wheat since fiber, nutrients and grains are never things I pass up on a plate. With a healthy pasta alternative, I reason, it's alright to splurge with a little cheese.

I've had a desperate craving for seafood fettuccine alfredo for quite some time, and yesterday I went to the store to replenish my whole wheat fettuccine supply in hopes of making the dish for dinner. Amidst the sea of pastas Safeway is now offering (who knew so many companies would jump on the whole wheat bandwagon?), the only pasta not represented was....fettuccine. For the first time in many, many moons, I bought and consumed semolina pasta, and I have to admit...it was a welcome reunion.

I did want a slightly healthy alfredo sauce given my pasta splurge, so a makeover of Cooking Light's already significantly lighter recipe was in order, and it turned out really well. The sauce starts off rather thin, but thickens once removed from heat. Luckily for my craving, I regularly stock shrimp and scallops in my freezer courtesy of my Costco trips, and the only other ingredient I was missing was lump crab meat, so *ahem* I used imitation. It's cheap. Sue me.

Last week I also scouted out an interesting Caesar dressing recipe, and despite the fact that I only use oil and vinegar on my salads, I really wanted a creamy, indulgent salad to accompany my creamy, indulgent pasta. I didn't have to feel guilty about my indulgence, however, since Rita at Pink Bites posted a wonderful recipe she found on Oprah's website for Tofu-Caesar Dressing. I only changed a few things, but the dressing came out fantastic, and with enough yield that I can get some serious mileage out of it.

Healthier Seafood Fettuccine Alfredo
Adapted from Cooking Light

6 bay scallops, rinsed and patted dry
10-12 shrimp, patted dry
1 1/2 cups shredded imitation crab meat
1 tbl. butter
2-3 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
2 green onions, chopped
1 1/4 cups fat free half and half
2 tbl. cornstarch
3/4 cup Romano cheese, grated
12 oz. fettuccine, cooked according to directions
Italian parsley to taste, chopped
1 tbl. fresh squeezed lemon juice, optional

1. Heat butter in a large pan, and saute onions and garlic for about a minute. Add scallops and shrimp and cook until shrimp is pink and scallops are cooked. Add shredded imitation crab meat, fat free half and half, and simmer for a few minutes. Add salt and pepper to mixture, Romano cheese and simmer for a minute longer.

2. Remove sauce from heat and add cornstarch, stirring until the sauce thickens. Pour sauce and seafood mixture into a large mixing bowl and add hot fettuccine, tossing to combine along with Italian parsley and a squeeze of lemon juice.

Tofu Caesar Salad Dressing
Adapted from Pink Bites

8 oz. soft tofu
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 garlic clove
2 tbl. tahini
Fresh ground black pepper
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 1/2 tbl. capers
1/2 cup olive oil
Italian parsley

Combine all ingredients in blender, reserving oil and parsley. Slowly add oil and parsley to mixture. Chill and serve.


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