This recipe was originally featured in The 30 Second Wine Advisor's FoodLetter on Thursday, April 22, 2004.

Alfredo "lite"

INGREDIENTS: (Serves two)

4 ounces (120 grams) fettuccine or other long pasta
1 tablespoon (15 grams) butter
1 tablespoon flour
2/3 cup (160 ml) skim milk
2 ounces cheese (see note)
Black pepper
1 tablespoon fresh chopped sage (optional)


It will take longer to cook the pasta than to fashion the sauce, so I get my preparations out of the way while the pasta water comes to the boil, then make the sauce while the fettuccine is cooking.

1. Start your salted pasta water boiling while you measure out the butter, flour and milk, chop the optional sage (or other fresh herb of your choice) and grate the cheese. Parmigiano Reggiano is the traditional choice, but there's no need to be bound by authenticity. In my most recent rendition, I used Emmenthaler, a mild Swiss that's a favorite for its nutty creaminess.

2. Put the pasta in to cook per package instructions; fettuccine should take about 8 to 10 minutes.

3. Make the sauce: Warm the milk. (I usually put it in a Pyrex cup and stick it in the microwave for 45 seconds on high.) Melt the butter over medium heat in a saucepan. When it stops bubbling but before it starts to brown, reduce heat to medium-low. Put in the flour all at once, stirring quickly with a wooden spoon or whisk until all the butter is incorporated. Stir and cook for a minute or two, then pour in the milk, a little at a time, stirring as you go to eliminate lumps. When it's smooth and slightly thickened, mix in the grated cheese, stirring until it melts smoothly.

4. Keep the sauce warm over very low heat while the pasta finishes. When it's done, drain and put it in the sauce, adding the optional sage or other chopped fresh herb. Put in warm bowls, season to taste with freshly ground black pepper, and serve.

WINE MATCH: This will work with a red or white, but the cheese offers plenty of support for a crisp, fruity red. I matched it with the Tenuta le Querce 2000 "Il Viola" Agliano del Vulture featured in Monday's 30 Second Wine Advisor.