So, I felt like being ambitious and I decided to make a low(er) calorie version of Olive Garden‘s steak and gorgonzola linguine alfredo. For me, it was fairly complicated–multiple pots cooking at once kind of thing. So:
1: Cook the linguine. (I started the water as the first step then moved on to all the other pots, adding the pasta to the water as soon as it boiled. The pasta still finished last.)
Pot 2: Create a balsamic reduction. I followed an online recipe that said 1/2 cup of balsamic, 1/2 cup of water, 2 tbsps of brown sugar. Bring to a boil, then simmer for a good while until reduced to at least half. Next time, I’ll use pure balsamic, no sugar, or possibly half balsamic, half wine, no sugar, because it didn’t need the sweetening.
Pan 3: Sear strips of beef. I cut some tenderloin fairly thick and cooked it on high, in a preheated pan, for 2 minutes per side. Perfect!
Pan 4: The fake alfredo sauce. Saute a minced clove of garlic in a sliver of butter — a tsp at most, over medium heat. Add a cup of broth (I used beef, but chicken would be fine.) Add 2 tbsps of low-fat cream cheese and about the same amount, maybe a little more, of a good blue cheese. Stir, stir, stir, stir, stir, and lower the heat any time the sauce starts to move past a strong simmer. Scrape in a little lemon zest. I didn’t measure it, but less than a teaspoon, I would guess. Cook until the cheese dissolves, plus whatever time is necessary to finish off the other elements of the meal. If it gets too thick, add some low-fat milk or even a little pasta water.
When the pasta is done, dump the water (possibly reserving a cup or so, if you think you might need to thin your sauce.) Add several handfuls of spinach–at least four, more is better–to the pasta. Toss. Add the fake alfredo to the pasta. Toss some more.
Add some crumbled blue cheese, probably another two tablespoons worth. Place on plates, and add a couple of slices of steak to the top of the pasta on each plate. Drizzle the balsamic reduction over the steak.
If I was doing it again, I’d marinate the steak for a while, add more spinach and make the changes to the balsamic reduction as described above. Apart from that — well, this is my favorite Olive Garden meal and I’m never going to eat it there again, because my sauce was so very yum, yum, yum. Lighter, definitely, and yet just as tangy and delicious. I’m so looking forward to my breakfast leftovers!