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Lighter Tomato “Alfredo” Pasta Bake

lighter tomato “alfredo” pasta bake Entree
Lighter Tomato “Alfredo” Pasta Bake
  • Prep 55 min
  • Total 1 hr 30 min
  • Servings 8

A saucy pasta bake loaded with Italian sausage, tomato and Alfredo sauce, fusilli and melty mozzarella sounds delicious, but not particularly light—at least until now! This recipe was expressly designed to deliver on flavors of the dish that inspired it—crowd-favorite Tomato-Alfredo Baked Ziti—while also trimming down the calories. To pull this off, the Betty Crocker Kitchens made a number of smart changes: using turkey sausage in lieu of pork, reducing the amount of cheese and including a homemade Alfredo sauce that starts with a head of cauliflower. That’s right: You can transform this nutrient-packed vegetable into a luscious and garlicky sauce. What’s more, the creamy richness of the cauli-fredo sauce is enhanced by the mild acidity of the Muir Glen™ fire roasted crushed tomatoes. The pairing of these two sauces is what makes the dish so irresistible—and that’s exactly what we were going for! MORE+ LESS-

Updated November 22, 2019

Ingredients

1
tablespoon olive oil
1
cup chopped onions
1
tablespoon finely chopped garlic
1 1/2
cups water
1
package (12 oz) frozen cauliflower flowerets
3/4
cup heavy whipping cream
1
cup grated Parmesan cheese
3/4
teaspoon salt
8
oz uncooked fusilli or rotini pasta (about 2 cups)
1
package (8 oz) white mushrooms, cut into quarters
2
links (about 1/2 lb) Italian turkey sausage
1
cup chopped red or yellow bell pepper
1
can (28 oz) Muir Glen™ organic fire roasted crushed tomatoes, undrained
3/4
cup shredded mozzarella cheese (3 oz)
2
tablespoons chopped fresh basil

Steps

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  • 1
    Heat oven to 350°F. Spray 13x9-inch (3-quart) glass baking dish with cooking spray.
  • 2
    In 3-quart saucepan, heat 1 teaspoon of the oil over medium heat. Add onions and 1 teaspoon of the garlic; cook 5 to 6 minutes or until just tender. Transfer to blender. Return saucepan to medium heat; add water and frozen cauliflower. Increase heat to medium-high; heat to boiling. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and cook 3 to 4 minutes or until tender. Drain and transfer cauliflower to blender; cool 10 minutes. Add whipping cream; cover and blend 60 to 90 seconds or until nearly smooth. Add Parmesan cheese and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt; blend 60 to 90 seconds or until smooth.
  • 3
    Cook and drain pasta as directed on package. Add to baking dish.
  • 4
    Meanwhile, in 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat remaining 2 teaspoons oil over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cut sausage casing, and discard. Crumble sausage into skillet with mushrooms. Cook 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to break up sausage, until sausage is no longer pink. Stir in bell pepper and remaining 2 teaspoons garlic; cook 1 to 2 minutes or until garlic is fragrant. Stir in tomatoes; heat 3 to 4 minutes or until heated through.
  • 5
    Add sausage mixture to baking dish; stir to completely combine. Top with mozzarella cheese; carefully pour cauliflower sauce over top. Bake uncovered 30 to 35 minutes or until bubbly on edges.
  • 6
    Let stand 10 minutes. Top with basil.

Expert Tips

  • Cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable—in the same family as kale, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, turnips and rutabagas, among others. These types of vegetables contain antioxidants and are higher in fiber, vitamins and minerals. So if you’re trying to integrate more vegetables in your diet, cauliflower is a great one to focus on.
  • On nights when you need a quick dinner, you could easily cook up the “Alfredo” sauce and serve it over pasta—just like you might do with a jar of your favorite Alfredo sauce.
  • When blending warm ingredients, place a kitchen towel over the top of your blender.
  • No fusilli or rotini on hand? Any type of short-shaped pasta will work in this recipe.

Nutrition Information

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: About 1 1/4 Cups
Calories
390
Calories from Fat
160
% Daily Value
Total Fat
18g
27%
Saturated Fat
9g
46%
Trans Fat
0g
Cholesterol
60mg
19%
Sodium
870mg
36%
Potassium
550mg
16%
Total Carbohydrate
39g
13%
Dietary Fiber
4g
17%
Sugars
8g
Protein
20g
% Daily Value*:
Vitamin A
10%
10%
Vitamin C
25%
25%
Calcium
30%
30%
Iron
15%
15%
Exchanges:
1 1/2 Starch; 0 Fruit; 1/2 Other Carbohydrate; 0 Skim Milk; 0 Low-Fat Milk; 0 Milk; 2 Vegetable; 0 Very Lean Meat; 0 Lean Meat; 0 High-Fat Meat; 2 Fat;
Carbohydrate Choice
2 1/2
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

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