Giada De Laurentis is responsible for my obsession with marscarpone cheese. If you watch her show regularly you will learn that Giada loves it - so much so that she even figured out how to add it to cupcakes! Over time I learned that it is one of those magical ingredients that makes a dish creamy and delicious. So this recipe is inspired by Giada, and by my love of cheese.
Alfredo sauces are so good but all that cheesy goodness comes at a cost - which is lots of fat. This "Alfredo" is healthier than the traditional because it has much less butter and uses whole milk instead of cream. Sometimes recipes call for cream because cream is thicker than milk. I have found that using a rue base (equal parts butter and flour melted together) and whole milk you can make a rich thick sauce with fewer calories and less fat.
You will need:
3 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 tablespoons flour
1 1/4 cups whole milk
4 oz Mascarpone
3/4 cup Parmesan
2 tablespoons Marsala wine
8 oz Mushrooms
1 cup chopped Asparagus
Salt and pepper
3/4 of a 1 pound box of pasta
Total Prep and Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Put a large pot of water on to boil. Then in a frying pan add 1 tablespoon of butter. Melt over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and then the Marsala wine. Adding Marsala wine to sauteed mushrooms is a great way to add flavor, while also reducing the amount of oil or butter used to saute. After the mushrooms have absorbed most of the liquid, add in 1/2 tablespoon of butter and the chopped asparagus. Stir until the butter is incorporated, sprinkle with salt and pepper, then top with a lid and turn the heat to low. The steam will cook the asparagus.
Once the water has boiled add the pasta. Cook the pasta according to the directions. While the pasta is cooking made the sauce. First melt 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter and mix with 1 1/2 tablespoons of flour. Then add 1 1/4 cups of whole milk. Stir over medium high heat until the sauce boils. Let boil for 1 minute while stirring constantly, this will make the sauce thicken. Then add the Parmesan and Mascarpone cheeses and stir until melted.
Drain the pasta, and return it to the pot. Pour the Mascarpone Alfredo over the pasta, and then add in the sauteed mushrooms and asparagus. I served this with some of the leftover chicken from the Chicken Piccata I made on Monday (without the lemon butter sauce).