Lightened Up Fettucine Alfredo ~ ~ @Savory SimpleLightened Up Fettuccine Alfredo

Tell me your life in 15 songs- Part Three (read Parts One and Two)

This has been an interesting exercise for me. I don’t usually get very personal on the blog and these three posts required quite a bit of thought and editing. How much sharing is too much? Where is the line between personal and private? I’m glad to have shared these songs with you and hope they’ve given you more of a glimpse at the gal behind the recipes. As promised, Part Three has a happy ending.

You’re the piece of gold that flashes on my soul

This is possibly one of the most beautiful songs I’ve ever heard… it tickles my soul. Give it a listen with your eyes closed. I can’t remember where or when I first heard it but I believe it fits well here. To me this song is joy, melancholy, beauty, regret and peace all wrapped up in a delicate lyrical package. I will never grow tired of it and I’d go so far as to say Playground Love is my #1 song on this list of 15. I was listening to it quite often when my prince charming finally arrived. After years of disappointing relationships I met Jeff and everything changed almost overnight. We’ve been together for 6 years now and I truly think I’m one of the luckiest girls in the world. In my wildest dreams I never imagined finding someone so amazing.

So talk amongst yourselves while i try to figure it out.
I’ll let you know in my time.

After 2 years Jeff and I moved in together and it slowly became apparent to both of us that while I was happy in love and at home I was miserable at work. I had fallen into a rut, a comfort zone that I was scared to break away from. I considered leaving my job many times over the years but I had no idea where to go or what to do. I felt trapped, indecisive and frustrated. I was obsessed with the idea that I’d never be happy until I was passionate about my work. Over the next several years I went back to school multiple times and always quit soon after I realized I was headed in the wrong direction yet again. I knew there was something out there that would bring me satisfaction.

When I read Julia Child’s My Life in France, everything changed. I connected with her story. I saw myself in her joyful delight over small details such as a beautiful neighborhood or a delicious butter sauce. She moved to Paris and discovered her passion for food and cooking. Jeff and I were doing a lot of international travel at the time and I became increasingly more interested in food and discovering new cuisines. Julia enrolled in Le Cordon Bleu at age 37. I was 29 and wanted to become an amazing cook. Finally after a lot of debate and many skeptical looks I decided to leave my job and attend culinary school. It was Jeff who convinced me to go to and I don’t know that I would have had the courage to do it without him.

You can never win or lose if you don’t run the race

If Playground Love is my #1 song on the list, this comes in as a close second. Why is this song so beautiful to me? It’s very 80s but it also has this timeless quality to it. I love his voice and the melody. When I was working the line during my culinary school externship, I had a coworker who played the same songs constantly and wouldn’t let anyone else control the music. To this day I cringe when Pink Floyd comes on the radio. I don’t care how good they are; you try having The Wall blasted in your ears at 7am for 6 months straight when you’re not a morning person. That being said, there were a few songs in his rotation that I never minded and this was one of them. I hated working the line but this song always took the edge off the heat of the kitchen.

Would you always
Maybe sometimes
Make it easy
Take your time

Life is a lot better these days and I’d even go so far as to say it’s fantastic. This song is pure joy to me. I got my happy ending: the career, the man, the life. And I could listen to this song a million times without getting sick of it. Isn’t that the definition of a favorite song?

Lightened Up Fettucine Alfredo ~ ~ @Savory Simple

Lightened Up Fettuccine Alfredo
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 6 servings
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 1 head cauliflower, chopped
  • 1 cup chicken or vegetable stock, preferably homemade
  • ⅔ cup water plus more as needed
  • 1 cup 2% milk
  • fresh grated nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • white pepper to taste
  • optional: ¼ cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 box fettuccine (approximately 16 ounces)
  1. In a large dutch oven, heat the olive oil on medium-low. Add onion to the pan with a pinch of salt and sweat for several minutes on medium-low heat. Once soft, add the cauliflower and turn up the heat to medium. Cook the vegetables for a few more minutes, stirring, until the cauliflower has softened up. Add the stock and water and bring the mixture to a simmer, cover the pot and lower the heat. Allow the mixture to simmer on low heat for 45 minutes.
  2. Prepare the pasta according to instructions and set aside.
  3. Carefully ladle the sauce into a blender. Puree until smooth and silky. Return the sauce to the pot and add the milk. Season with fresh grated nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste. Stir in cheese if using.
  4. Toss the sauce with the pasta and serve.


More pasta recipes

Savory Simple – Spicy Pappardelle with Sausage and Shiitake Mushrooms
Savory Simple – Noodles with Tofu Stir Fry
Savory Simple – Pumpkin Pecorino Pasta with Fried Sage
The Wicked Noodle – Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese with Buttery Bacon Breadcrumbs
Namely Marly – Easy Pasta Salad
The Lemon Bowl – Greek Chicken Pasta Salad with Feta and Herbs

  • Laura (Tutti Dolci)

    Using cauliflower in your sauce is brilliant!

    • Jennifer Farley

      It’s not very original but I’ve always wanted to try it! It works perfectly.

  • Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious

    I’m the same way, Jen. I absolutely HATE my job but it pays the bills so what can you do? I’m giving myself a year until Jason finishes school, moves back home and I can finally quit and blog full-time. It’s becoming exhausting to have 2 jobs!

    Anyway, I love this fettuccine. The cauliflower in here is a genius idea.

    • Erin @ Texanerin Baking

      Same here, Chung-Ah! Except that part about my guy living away from me. We did that for 2 years, though. Not fun! I hope the year will pass quickly for both of us. :)

    • Jennifer Farley

      You’re on the right track, hang in there!

  • Erin @ Texanerin Baking

    This post was really interesting to read. Especially the part about going to culinary school!

    I’ve been eating a ton of lightened up fettucchine alfredo lately and thought that this would be the same version but surprisingly… it’s a new version! I’ll have to try it.

  • Aggie

    I love reading more about you. I can relate to the feeling of hating your job, I hated all of mine before I got pregnant & decided that staying home with my kids was going to be my new job. I also tinkered with the idea of going to culinary school – a lot. I’m happy you took the leap of faith and are now happy :)

    This sauce sounds amazing! Adding the cauliflower is brilliant!

    • Jennifer Farley

      Thank you so much for reading, Aggie! It was scary to put all of that out there so the support is very appreciated.

  • Carrie @ Bakeaholic Mama

    I want so badly to go to Culinary School. I’m feel like it will never happen now that I’m going on 29 and with the kids…. *sigh* And then the fact that we would have to relocate since there are NO culinary programs in the state of NH… lame. I have been thinking about your list of songs a lot this week. I challenged myself last night to start thinking about it… my list is getting close to 25. I can’t narrow it down! Anyways…. I love this Alfredo…. cauliflower and chicken stock is brilliant.

    • Jennifer Farley

      I’d love to hear your list of songs sometime! You should look into culinary boot camps. I know the CIA in New York has weeklong sessions and you’d probably get a lot out of them without having to deal with student loans or moving.

    • Sue Leckart

      Carrie – I live in Vermont and there at least two culinary schools in this state. Depending on where you are in NH, you might be able to commute. There is one in Montpelier (Alton Brown when to this one) and there’s one in Johnson, VT. This one is further north than Montpelier. It might be worth your while to check these schools out. Good Luck!

  • Liz @ The Lemon Bowl

    Thanks for featuring my pasta! This looks insanely good!

    • Jennifer Farley

      Thanks Liz!

  • Joanne @ Fifteen Spatulas

    Awww YAY! Look where you’ve ended up =) I’m glad you found your place and your passion. We do have pretty awesome lives =)

    • Jennifer Farley

      We are very lucky :)

  • Kayle (The Cooking Actress)

    Your story is so inspiring <3

    And this fettuccine alfredo looks like perfection-I can't believe that there's cauliflower in the sauce!

    • Jennifer Farley

      Thank you, Kayle!

  • Cassie | Bake Your Day

    I will always take a lightened up version of alfredo. This looks incredible!

  • Lauren

    I really identify with your story. I was a corporate lawyer for years, and I hated it with a burning passion, but I was good at it and I made a lot of money… so I felt trapped. It took me getting to the brink of a nervous breakdown to actually make a change — I took a leave of absence and never looked back. If I’d known about My Life in France at the time, things might have been different! I took 2 years off to have a baby and “find myself” and ended up realizing that the things I would do if I didn’t have to work were cook and write about it. Bam.

    Anyway, the pasta looks great, too. ;)

    • Jennifer Farley

      Better to realize later than never :)

  • Kiersten @ Oh My Veggies

    Oh my gosh, I love you. Air is my favorite band. NO ONE knows who the heck I’m talking about whenever I mention them–ha. Finally, someone else likes Air! Finally! I also happen to love Fettuccine Alfredo. :)

    • Jennifer Farley

      Yay! They’re one of my favorites as well and I wish people knew how amazing they are. One day I’ll see them live.

  • Tracey

    I’m so super intrigued by this substitution. Alfredo is one of my favorites but I have it infrequently because it’s so heavy, a lighter option would be perfect!!

    • Jennifer Farley

      This is definitely something that can be enjoyed more regularly. I basically adapted my soup recipe because it was creamy enough to be a “cream” sauce before I thinned it out. It really hits the spot.

  • Jen L | Tartine and Apron Strings

    Jen, thanks for sharing your personal journey to us. I am sure you are inspiring someone out there, who may be on the fence about career change, to pursue their dreams – or at least give it a shot! I think it’s worth noting too that when you said you got your happy ending, you used the word “career” instead of “job”. I think that’s the difference between the two. If you are passionate about what you are doing, it’s a career. If you hate what you are doing, it’s a job!

    This alfredo sauce is gorgeous – love that there’s cauliflower in it!

    • Jennifer Farley

      I always wanted to be someone with a career instead of a job and I cannot believe I actually pulled it off. It was a dream of mine but things looked very dismal for a long time. Thanks for taking the time to read, I really appreciate it!

  • Laura

    I’ve really enjoyed checking out all the songs and have even bought a few. Love the top photo.

    • Jennifer Farley

      Which ones did you buy? I’m glad you listened to them! I figure most people skimmed but you have to listen to get the full experience. And thank you :)

  • Valerie

    I loved reading these last few posts, Jen. Thanks for opening up to your readers- I feel as though I have a better understanding of you and your fabulous food. :)

    P.S. I don’t think I could ever get sick of The Wall, but then again, I never had to listen to it 24/7. ;)

    • Jennifer Farley

      Thank you for reading! It’s been nice sharing. I used to LOVE The Wall. I think part of the problem was that he didn’t just play it constantly, he blasted it and often sang along at the top of his lungs. Some of those songs just aren’t meant to start the day.

  • Kate@Diethood

    I love these ‘getting to know Jen” posts! :)
    The fettuccine looks incredible! Lightened up?! Even better!!

    P.S. All in all you’re just another brick in the wall… That song is going to be stuck in my head the entire weekend. :-P

    • Jennifer Farley

      Thank you for reading!

  • Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers

    The lightened up alfredo sounds good! I wonder if my Husband would notice? I have to try the recipe! He LOVES chicken alfredo!! Thanks for sharing!

  • Anna @ Crunchy Creamy Sweet

    Love your story, Jen! When you will publish your cookbook it will inspire that much more people. This Alfredo sounds out-of-this-world! How genius with the cauliflower!!!

  • Laura Dembowski

    Love that this is healthy and doesn’t have any cheese in it, as I’m allergic to cheese and even the healthy versions are typically loaded with it. I am going to drag out my blender that hasn’t seen the light of day in far too long and try this over Shirataki noodles! So excited :)

  • Sonali- The Foodie Physician

    This looks amazing! Gorgeous photos and a wonderful recipes, thanks!

  • Kathryn

    What a lovely, lovely post to end this series on. Hurrah for happiness!

    • Jennifer Farley

      Thank you so much for reading my story :)

  • kirsten@FarmFreshFeasts

    This is a great wrap up to the ‘getting to know me better’ series, I’ve really enjoyed reading them and hearing new songs. Finally, though, I song I know and love from *my* youth–Love My Way! Excellent musical choices.
    This fettuccine has me craving pasta today–thank you.

    • Jennifer Farley

      Thank you for reading!

  • Kate @ Kate from Scratch

    So glad I popped in! Your story is so easy to connect with and refreshingly honest. Happy, ftw!

    • Jennifer Farley

      Thank you so much!

  • kristy @ the wicked noodle

    I’m disappointed that I don’t have time to read your entire post but I will definitely be back for it. Just wanted to say that your photos are looking more and more gorgeous, it’s quite impressive!!

  • Kendee

    This sounds WONDERFUL. Question, though. Could I sub coconut milk for the 2% milk?

    • Jennifer Farley

      What’s the purpose for making the swap? I love coconut milk but think the flavor might overpower the dish. If you’re aiming to remove the dairy I’d recommend using almond or soy milk instead. They have a nice neutral flavor that will still offer some creaminess.

  • sally @ sallys baking addiction

    Jen!! I made this over the weekend. Can I just say – WOW!!!! I’ve never thought to use cauliflower in an alfredo sauce before. Mind you, I love to bake but Kevin does most of the cooking! So I was VERY pleased when this turned out so well. :) Can’t wait to make it again girl!

    • Jennifer Farley

      I’m so happy you liked it!

  • Carol | a cup of mascarpone

    I am so going to try this, Jen! I love how you used cauliflower in the sauce! Just noticed the comment above mine from Sally…that totally convinced me!

  • Mallory @ Because I Like Chocolate

    Love how you substituted cream for cauliflower “cream” here. Great idea!