alfredo pasta with browned butter, cauliflower, and ricotta

If you’re like me, this recipe had you hooked at browned butter. Anytime I see browned butter listed, I don’t care what the recipe is, I want to make it asap. However, the best thing about this recipe is not the browned butter (insert surprised gasp here), but that you are rewarded with a creamy alfredo pasta sans the massive amounts of calories. Yes, there is some whole milk and a little bit of cream in this recipe, but part of the heavy cream has been substituted with pureed cauliflower. If I lost some of you with the phrase “pureed cauliflower,” bear with me for a moment. I promise this pasta doesn’t taste like baby food and you won’t be sacrificing taste just to save a few calories. It’s packed full of flavor and comforting pasta goodness. I hope it will become a favorite in your house just as it is in ours!


adapted from: What’s Gaby Cooking

serves 4 as an entrée 

4 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons red pepper flakes (for mild spice, reduce to 1 teaspoon)
4 large cloves garlic, minced
5 cups (roughly 1 lb.) cauliflower florets (from a head of cauliflower weighing roughly 1.5 pounds)
1 pound pasta, I recommend fettuccine or fusilli col buco
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
8 ounces whole milk ricotta
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
sea salt and black pepper to taste
parmesan, for garnish
chopped green onion, for garnish

Brown the butter and red pepper flakes in a large cast iron pan (or skillet) over medium heat, adding in the garlic partway through. When butter is browned, remove from heat and set aside.

Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to boil. Boil the cauliflower for approximately 6-8 minutes or until you can easily spear it with a fork. Transfer the cauliflower to a blender or food processor, saving the boiling water in the pot. Blend the cauliflower until smooth, thinning the cauliflower as needed with 1/3 to 2/3 cup of the hot water.

Meanwhile, bring the salted water back to a boil (you may need to add a little more water and/or salt) and cook your pasta al dente (according to package directions).

While the pasta is cooking, transfer the blended cauliflower to the large skillet and combine with the butter, red pepper flakes, and garlic. Bring the skillet back to the stove and warm over medium heat, then add the milk, ricotta, heavy cream, nutmeg, and bring to a gentle simmer, stirring frequently. Salt and pepper to taste. When the pasta is cooked, drain it, toss with a couple glugs of olive oil, and add to the alfredo sauce. Cook the pasta for an additional 3-5 minutes, stirring frequently.

Remove from heat and serve with Parmesan and green onion.

4 thoughts on “alfredo pasta with browned butter, cauliflower, and ricotta

  1. OMG this looks and sounds heavenly. Creamy, but made from cauliflower. Delicious! Can’t wait to try sometime. I wonder if it work similarly with spiralized zucchini instead of pasta?! Thanks Alicia!


    1. Hi Troy! Thank you! You could definitely try it with spiralized zucchini- I would recommend a “thicker” spiral so the zucchini holds up well with the sauce. Also, the zucchini (obviously) wouldn’t need to cook in the salted water like the pasta does. If you try it, let me know how it works for you! Xoxo


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