Chicken Alfredo is one of my favorite pasta dishes. There is something so comforting about the creamy, salty and cheese laden sauce that makes it such a special treat. So when the food allergy news broke, I thought I will never have the chance to cook this yummy pasta dish at home anymore.
One day, while preparing for dinner, my children started asking for a white pasta sauce. Just my luck. How can I possibly make a cream sauce without cream or milk? I’m pretty sure coconut milk, unsweetened rice or almond milk will not be a good alternative because these kids know what an Alfredo sauce should taste like. Cream cheese even the vegan one is out of the question too because of the soy content. Challenging? Oh yeah. Impossible? I don’t think so.
While looking for the can of anchovies in the pantry, (Yes! I put some anchovies in my regular Alfredo sauce.) I accidentally came across this can of cannellini beans. Light bulb moment! If I can make these beans really creamy and add enough flavor, I might be able to get a taste close to our beloved cream sauce. So where do I get this weird idea? Okay, I confess, I have an obsession with the show Chopped and it looks like it’s paying off. 😀
After a few tinkering, I finally came up with this recipe. Take note that I didn’t use any salt because the anchovies gave it the much needed flavor. If you are not into anchovies, you can use bacon instead. Simply put raw bacon pieces (about 5 stripes) in a big pan and cook until you have about 2 Tbs. of bacon grease. Remove the cooked bacon and use the grease to sauté the sundried tomatoes and make the sauce. Once the dish is done, crumble the bacon and sprinkle on top. You may have to add some salt in the sauce because the bacon doesn’t have the same salt content as the anchovies.
Give this one a try, it’s a little healthier than the original Alfredo Sauce too. Who knew cooking food allergy friendly dishes is starting to be fun?
1 15 oz. can cannellini beans
4 cloves garlic
1 1/2 cup chicken broth
1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 2 oz. can Anchovies in Olive Oil
1 cup cooked chicken breast (sliced thinly)
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1 cup Daiya Pepperjack Style Shreds
2 Tbs. sundried tomatoes chopped
3 Tbs. fresh sage chopped
1 lb. gluten free pasta of your choice (cooked perfectly)
* some pasta liquid (water where you cooked the pasta)
1. Using a blender or food processor, puree the beans, garlic and broth until really smooth and creamy. Set aside.
2. In a big pot, sauté the anchovies in olive oil until it turns into a paste. Mix in the sundried tomatoes and let the flavors blend for about 2 minutes.
3. Add the pureed bean mixture, chicken and season with black pepper, nutmeg and onions powder. Bring to boil.
4. Lower heat and add shredded Daiya cheese substitute. Mix well until the cheese melts. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. If needed, add some salt.
5. Add the cooked pasta and stir to coat with the sauce.
6. Turn off heat and sprinkle the chopped sage.
7. Serve hot.
* If the sauce is too thick, add some pasta water.
* Puree the beans really well and simmer it for at least 10 minutes to remove the grainy texture.
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