Fettucine Alfredo with Spinach

Fettuccine Alfredo with Spinach | A Couple Cooks

Fettuccine Alfredo with Spinach | A Couple CooksFettuccine Alfredo with Spinach | A Couple CooksPasta with butter and cheese was rare for us when we first started eating whole food. With so many new foods to experiment with, we focused mainly on experimenting whole grains and fresh vegetables. (I also used to limit my carbs, so pasta was considered the enemy at one point.) But those days are over, and our “moderation is key” approach has us experimenting with whole wheat pastas studded with veggies. Plus — newsflashbutter’s back to being good for you.

Instead of the typical cream-based alfredo sauce we’re used to here in America, this fettuccine alfredo uses the “traditional” method: tossing the warm pasta with butter and parmesan cheese, which melts into a gooey, savory sauce. We’ve added spinach here to pack in some nutrients; you also could use other greens like tender arugula (just make sure it’s not too spicy!).

Funny story: we originally made this dish with arugula, and when we went to test it a second time, somehow the arugula didn’t get completely washed. We took our first bite and CRUNCH. It was literally like eating sand. The entire pot ended up in the trash. Lesson learned. (And in the end, we also changed the arugula to spinach since the spicy flavor overpowered the dish. Another lesson learned).

We hope you enjoy this take on classic Italian comfort food! We’ve used whole-wheat pasta here, but you could certainly use gluten-free if you have allergies.

We got our arugula and spinach at Indy Winter Farmer’s Market - if you’re local, make sure to check out the market as it’s packed with greens of all kinds. 

Fettucine Alfredo with Spinach
Makes: 4 to 6
What You Need
  • 1 pound dry whole wheat fettuccine pasta (or gluten-free if desired)
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1½ cups grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 bunch spinach (6 to 8 cups)
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper
What To Do
  1. Fill a large pot with water and add several pinches of salt. Bring to a boil and add the fettuccine.
  2. Meanwhile, wash the spinach and remove any large stems. Cut 6 tablespoons butter into small pats. If necessary, grate 1 ½ cups parmesan cheese.
  3. When the fettuccine is al dente (cooked, but still a little firm), reserve about 2 cups of the pasta water. Then drain the pasta in a strainer.
  4. Return the pot to the stove and add a small amount of the pasta water (about ½ cup). Add the spinach and cook down until bright green and wilted, stirring occasionally, for 1 to 3 minutes depending on the firmness of your spinach. Then add the pasta and toss thoroughly to combine.
  5. Add the pats of butter, half of the parmesan cheese, ¾ teaspoon kosher salt and plenty of fresh ground pepper, and continue tossing until the butter and cheese form a sauce. As desired, pour very small amounts of the reserved pasta water to loosen the sauce. Then add the remainder of the cheese and toss until integrated. Taste and adjust salt and pepper as desired. Serve immediately.
Inspired by Simply Recipes and Saveur

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Comments 23

  1. molly yeh

    I always shy away from alfredo because it is usually so darn creamy and heavy and makes me feel all guilty and stuff. But I like the simple look of this one and, my, how I’ve been craaaaving spinach!

  2. Kathryn

    I don’t think I’ve ever had fettucine alfredo – I’ve never seen it over here and always steered clear when I’ve been in the the US as I don’t do well with heavy/cream sauces but this? This sounds wonderful. Rich but light at the same time especially with the brightness of the spinach in there too.

  3. Christine

    I made a similar noodle dish a few days ago as a side dish for our meal with whole wheat elbows , parm, little butter and added a beaten egg to the mixture for a little extra protein. My kids devoured it! Love the spinach in yours and will have to add a green next time. I think even something simple like parsley or other herbs would be delicious. Thanks!

    1. Alex

      Sounds great with an egg! Also, can’t wait for some fresh garden herbs to add to everything :)

  4. Ashley

    I absolutely LOVE this and am totally on board with butter. And if you haven’t yet tried ghee….oh.em.ghee. [bahaha - had to] So super rich and amazing, especially for cooking eggs in. The simplicity of this is awesome, minus the sand. ;)

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