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Cheesecake Factory Copycat: Sundried Tomato Fettuccine {Lightened Up}

A lightened up version of the Cheesecake Factory Sundried Tomato Fettuccine pasta dish!

Holy wow. I’m still recovering from this weekend. I think I’m getting too old to drink like I used to in college. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll have seen that this past Saturday was my bachelorette party! I’ll be blogging about it very soon! I had way too much fun and went a tad overboard on the drinking. Never again, never again. My tolerance just isn’t what it used to be. I’m seriously paying for it! I spent most of Sunday morning in bed with a raging headache and all I wanted to do was sleep. The only thing that got me out of bed was when Jason went to pick up some greasy take-out pizza from our favorite local pizza joint. It never tasted so good.

A few months ago, me and two of my girlfriends decided to meet up for happy hour at Cheesecake Factory (have you guys seen their new happy hour specials? They’re kind of ridiculously awesome. I know Cheesecake Factory is so generic, but their drink specials and the appetizers they have during happy hour are pretty well worth it). We got some drinks, some apps, and of course, we had to get some carbs. My FAVORITE pasta is their sundried tomato & chicken fettuccine. Of course it’s loaded with cream and a whole ‘lotta bad, but I can’t ever resist it. It’s a huge guilty pleasure. Plus, I feel better about the whole situation because I know I can’t ever eat the entire thing so really, it isn’t that bad, right?

I wanted to recreate it at home and lighten it up a bit. You guys are in for a TREAT. This pasta is SO creamy and scrumptious. Jason and I were shoveling it in our mouths. Very attractive. You won’t miss the boatload of cream and best of all, you won’t be feeling too guilty. Now, I didn’t do the nutritional information on this so don’t yell at me if you end up doing it and it’s not lightened up enough to your standards. To me, it’s a TON lightened up compared to what you get from Cheesecake Factory. Plus, I added in spinach (you could add kale if you wanted or whatever greens) – greens always counteract everything! ;)

Anyway, I really really hope you make this pasta dish. You will absolutely love it just as much as Jason and I did. It’s very close to Cheesecake Factory’s sundried tomato fettuccine (I omitted the chicken, but you can add it if you’d like) but you won’t have to work two times as hard at the gym after it!


Cheesecake Factory Copycat: Sundried Tomato Fettuccine {Lightened Up}
Author: 
Recipe type: Main Entree, Pasta
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients:
  • ¾ pound dried fettuccine
  • 1 cup reserved pasta water
  • 4 tbsp. olive oil
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup sundried tomato halves, sliced
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can of petite diced tomatoes, drained
  • 3 tbsp. tomato paste
  • ½ tbsp. granulated sugar
  • ½ cup plain non-fat Greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup light sour cream
  • 1½ cups baby spinach
  • Salt & pepper, to taste
  • Crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
Instructions:
  1. In a large stockpot, bring water to a boil, add 1 tbsp. of olive oil then add your fettuccine. Cook according to direction on the box then drain (reserving 1 cup of the pasta water) and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the plain Greek yogurt and light sour cream, mix together with a spoon and set aside.
  3. While the pasta is cooking, in a large skillet, add the remaining 3 tbsp. of olive oil to the skillet over medium high heat. Once the oil is heated up, add garlic and sundried tomato halves. Sauté until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
  4. Turn the heat down to medium low and gently add the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, and granulated sugar. Stir until well-incorporated.
  5. Swiftly whisk in the Greek yogurt and sour cream mixture. You'll want to slowly add it in but whisk fast to get it all incorporated well. After all of it has been added and combined, bring the heat up to medium high and let it simmer and thicken for about 5-7 minutes.
  6. Season the sauce with salt and pepper, to taste, then add in the baby spinach. Once the spinach has wilted, you may add in the cooked pasta and turn off the heat.
  7. Toss to coat the pasta. If the mixture seems too thick, this is where you can slowly add the reserved pasta water (DO NOT add the full cup all at once, pour slowly and stir and see if you need more).
  8. You may top with crushed red pepper flakes, if desired.
  9. Serve hot.
Notes:
You must NOT omit the sour cream in this recipe. I have already done the testing and failed with just Greek yogurt in the sauce. Since the Greek yogurt contains zero (or low) fat, it will curdle as soon as you add it to the hot mixture (since we aren't taking the time to temper it). To ensure that it doesn't curdle, you must mix the sour cream with the Greek yogurt. Sour cream contains fat and this fat will prevent the Greek yogurt from curdling and separating. If you have experience cooking with Greek yogurt and are comfortable with omitting the sour cream and replacing it with all Greek yogurt, by all means, go for it. However, I cannot promise you success as I have done this twice and my sauce has separated. The only success I got was when I mixed my Greek yogurt with sour cream.

 

119 COMMENTS

  1. 02/18/2013 at 9:21 pm

    I love the sound of this lightened up version! the pictures look mouthwatering!

  2. 02/18/2013 at 9:47 pm

    That bachelorette party looked super fun, how perfect! And this pasta? Yum. I love sundried tomatoes!

  3. 02/19/2013 at 2:13 am

    I don’t have any tolerance any more either. Oh well, I guess we are just getting old, lol!

    I have not had this dish from CF yet, but it sounds awesome. I know their dishes are just obnoxious with the calories. Your lighter version still looks so perfectly creamy!

  4. 02/19/2013 at 6:27 am

    I’m already hungry at 3am. Love the addition of yogurt in this pasta recipe. Yum!!

  5. 02/19/2013 at 9:17 am

    This is a pregnant girl’s dream!

  6. 02/19/2013 at 1:25 pm

    Love this pasta. Never had it at Cheesecake Factory before, but I love the lightened up version. Already printed to make soon!

  7. 02/19/2013 at 2:55 pm

    Omg! I want THIS for dinner! I actually worked at the Cheesecake Factory in college. Totally love how you lightened this recipe up.

  8. 02/19/2013 at 2:58 pm

    Julie, I just LOVE your lightened up dinner recipes!!! I’ve never even had this at cheesecake before but now it is all i can think about. I hear ya about getting too old to party like we did in college. 5 beers and then put me to bed. My college self would be SO embarrassed of my 27 year old self.

  9. 02/19/2013 at 3:04 pm

    Can’t wait to try this! It is one of my favorite dishes!

  10. Amee
    02/19/2013 at 3:39 pm

    Just made this for lunch! Added lots of red pepper flakes and topped it with a little goat cheese ( I know it’s a “light” recipe, but I couldn’t resist!) DELICIOUS thank you for sharing

  11. 02/19/2013 at 8:17 pm

    I’ve never had this pasta at Cheesecake Factory before, but am so ready to stay in and try this recipe instead!

  12. JL
    02/19/2013 at 8:34 pm

    Should I use sundried tomatoes in oil?

    • 02/19/2013 at 8:36 pm

      No, it’d be too oily. I used these: http://www.target.com/p/bella-sun-luci-sun-dried-tomato-halves-3oz/-/A-13186894

    • Kathy Garrett
      09/07/2014 at 6:41 pm

      Rachel, I didn’t have any olive oil, and that may be the first time in my life…an Italian without olive oil…unheard of, right? Well I did have sundried tomatoes in oil, so I used the oil from the sundried tomatoes as a sub. for olive oil. It worked fine for me. I also didn’t have any greek yogurt but had low fat sour cream and that is what I used. It was great. I also sub. scallops b/c that is what I had, and I loved it. I am sure you have tried it by now. My kids loved it, as did I.

      • Julie
        09/08/2014 at 7:46 am

        I’m so glad you enjoyed this Kathy!

  13. 02/19/2013 at 8:40 pm

    This looks so creamy and delicious. Everyone in my family would love this, veggie and non-veggies. I can’t wait to try. Thanks!

  14. 02/19/2013 at 9:53 pm

    this looks AMAZING. love that you used greek yogurt!

  15. 02/20/2013 at 3:00 am

    OMG. This is my favorite pasta from Cheesecake factory! I`m so excited to try this out! :D

  16. 02/20/2013 at 4:10 pm

    Yum! Pasta is my all time favorite and I love sun-dried tomatoes! Must try this recipe!

  17. 02/20/2013 at 7:26 pm

    Love how you lightened up this dish! It look fabulous!!

  18. 02/20/2013 at 11:50 pm

    I have to confess I’ve never had the Cheesecake Factory version of this dish, but yours looks insanely delicious!! I love lightened up version of restaurant favorites, can’t wait to try it :)

  19. Ace
    02/21/2013 at 3:20 am

    This may seem like a funny question, but how much cream would I use if I wanted to make the big-booty version of the recipe?

    • 02/21/2013 at 7:26 am

      Haha, I would say about 1 cup of heavy cream.

  20. Liz
    02/22/2013 at 10:11 am

    I made this last night and it was really tasty! Thanks for the great (and easy) recipe!

  21. 02/22/2013 at 11:25 pm

    I just introduced my husband to sun dried tomatoes, and this sounds perfect for the next installment. Thanks for lightening it up though! I love Cheesecake Factory but they can be deadly.

  22. 02/24/2013 at 3:43 pm

    This looks so creamy and delicious! And I love that you made it a lighter version!! Definitely trying this soon!

  23. 03/10/2013 at 6:47 pm

    This looks so good. Now I want fettuccini, Pronto!

  24. Corey
    03/22/2013 at 5:05 pm

    I made this tonight and my kids and husband loved it! The only thing we changed is we actually used roasted red peppers instead of sun dried tomatoes n crushed tomatoes instead of petit cut! My husband and 1 daughter hate tomato chunks in their meals! This was a keeper recipe for sure! Thanks!

  25. abby
    03/25/2013 at 7:56 pm

    Made this tonight and it was amazing! I used only greek yogurt no sour cream, and whole wheat pasta! It tasted so good and it was super filling! Thanks for the awesome recipe!

  26. Angela
    03/29/2013 at 9:07 am

    I couldnt get past the taste of the greek yogurt :/ I think i’d only like the fattened version lol however my husband absolutely loved it! He said he could eat it for breakfast lunch and dinner. Thanks for the recipe.

  27. Heather
    04/02/2013 at 12:48 am

    Yum!! I also make a version of this, except I use a bit of light cream cheese and half & half. Not quite as light as yours, I’m sure, but it has to be lighter than CF’s!

  28. annie
    04/06/2013 at 7:52 pm

    I came across this recipe on pinterest recently and tried it today. It is SO DELICIOUS that my picky little 4yr old finished her plate. New recipe to be cooked more often forfamily. Enough said!

  29. Briene
    04/12/2013 at 1:55 pm

    I just made this for my husband a week ago and he devoured it! didn’t even believe me when I said it was a “lightened up” recipe. he talked so much about it, my mom is having me make it tonight. I can’t wait, it’s so rich & yummy!

  30. JC
    04/30/2013 at 8:24 pm

    Found this yesterday. Made it for dinner tonight. It was delicious!

  31. 05/06/2013 at 5:50 pm

    Hello, I found your blog just by chance as I was looking for Italian recipes, I love this recipe and have eaten something similar at Meme’s Restaurant. I wanted to let you know that you are one of 4 bloggers I have featured this week in my Tasty Bites feature. Hope you can stop by and link up any of your favorite recipes Tasty Bites Tuesday
    Bon Apetite

  32. Sara Pearsall
    05/10/2013 at 4:55 pm

    I worked at The Cheesecake Factory a few years ago and fell in love with pretty much the entire menu while there. This is one of the go-to dishes on my list. I actually know how to make it the way they do at the restaurant, but after making this one last night for dinner, this recipe will be a staple in our regular menu at home! So delicious!! (And definitely better for you!)

  33. May Jaffe
    07/10/2013 at 4:35 pm

    This was delicious…used whole wheat pasta. Thank you

  34. 07/16/2013 at 4:00 pm

    Oh no I bought oil based roasted tomatoes. If I dry them should it work?

    Also is it okay to reheat this dish as it has yogurt in it?

    Making it tonight, thanks!!!

    • 07/16/2013 at 4:02 pm

      Aisha – oil based roasted tomatoes? I’ve never heard of them. They should be ok if you dry them with a paper towel. It’s ok to reheat. I did it twice.

  35. Aisha
    07/16/2013 at 11:41 pm

    Thanks so much! Just to update the dish came out fantastic. I added mushrooms and sweet onions and my husband sprinkled “slap your momma” Cajun spicing to his plate and loved it. Definitely on our rotation now. Thanks!!!

    • 07/17/2013 at 6:57 am

      Awesome! So glad you enjoyed this!

  36. Amelia
    07/30/2013 at 9:49 am

    I made this last night. Super yummy! I had never tasted this dish at Cheesecake Factory so this was my first time eating this dish. I’d make it again & keep it in my “meatless/pasta Monday” rotation for my family. I think next time I am going to add the red pepper flakes!!!

    • 07/30/2013 at 11:56 am

      So glad you liked it – it’s definitely a big favorite of mine :)

  37. Shannon
    08/23/2013 at 12:55 pm

    I am not a fan of Greek yogurt and never liked it in anything. Can I use regular yogurt or just replace it with more sour cream or something else?

    • 08/24/2013 at 9:44 am

      If you use regular yogurt, it is not as thick as greek yogurt so your sauce might not be as thick and creamy unless you let it thicken longer. You can certainly use more sour cream, although, it won’t be a lightened up dish! :) I promise you if you use greek yogurt – you won’t even taste it!

  38. Leah
    09/04/2013 at 1:27 pm

    Looks fantastic! I don’t have any yogurt and was wondering if I could replace the yogurt with sour cream as well? What do you think?

    • 09/04/2013 at 1:45 pm

      Hi Leah, in the comment above you, I mentioned that you can replace the yogurt with sour cream but the dish just won’t be “lightened up.” You certainly can use sour cream instead though! Enjoy! :)

  39. 10/06/2013 at 7:51 pm

    This sounds awesome and I have all the ingredients on hand. Definitely will be in the dinner rotation this week! ~ Mama Ging

    • 10/07/2013 at 8:12 am

      Wonderful! I hope you enjoy it!

  40. fotini
    10/09/2013 at 11:53 am

    thank you so much for this recipe. I made it a day after I saw it and my husband and I loved it. He was so surprised that I used greek yogurt in it. He makes fun of me for substituting it for sour cream all the time and now is a believer. I used full fat sour cream though because that is what I had int he refrigerator. Will try with fat free but scared it won’t be the same. Neighbors loved it too…of course I had to share

    • 10/10/2013 at 8:19 am

      Thanks so much for the feedback, Fotini! I’m so glad you and your husband enjoyed it and that your neighbors did too!

  41. Raquel
    12/29/2013 at 1:09 pm

    It’s a beautiful looking pasta. However the taste is very sour because of the yogurt and sour cream. I liked it but cannot go for a second plate because the taste gets to old (because of the sourness). I would definately try to switch it up to work on the sourness.

    • 12/30/2013 at 7:42 am

      Hi Raquel, sorry you thought it was too sour – you could always just replace the yogurt with heavy cream if you think the yogurt is too sour.

  42. Meredith
    01/04/2014 at 4:58 pm

    I cooked this tonight for my boyfriend and he asked that I make it more often. He was using his bread to soak up the last bit of sauce.

    I used only fat free greek yogurt but I tempered the yogurt before adding to the sauce so had no issues with it separating.

    • 01/05/2014 at 8:41 am

      Wonderful, Meredith! So glad you both enjoyed it and are going to make it more often :) great job on the tempering of the yogurt!! Love that you did that :)

  43. Angela
    01/08/2014 at 9:56 am

    Why do people who haven’t already made a recipe bore us with their comments like….it looks so good,… will try it,… can’t wait to make it,… WHO CARES what their opinion is unless they’ve actually made it! BTW, I made this this dish and it really was awesome!!

    • 01/08/2014 at 10:12 am

      I’m SO glad you enjoyed this dish, Angela! I appreciate and read all the feedback on my blog, so even if people haven’t made a recipe, they’re still welcome to comment. Thanks for your feedback, I appreciate you letting me know what you thought of the dish :)

  44. Samantha
    01/26/2014 at 6:08 pm

    just finished making this and thought it was very yummy! Though admittingly I found it a little bit too tart sadly :( next time I think i’ll use half and half to lighten it up a bit instead of so much greek yogurt/sour cream.

    • 01/27/2014 at 8:40 am

      So glad you thought it was yummy! Sorry you found it too tart, though!

  45. Beth
    03/12/2014 at 1:11 pm

    Love that you took this great dish from the Cheesecake Factory to your kitchen table! This is my all time favorite pasta dish there and I’ve been trying to replicate it forever. Anyway you have any of the nutritional info for the dish as a whole? Someone in my house is currently counting calories and I can’t wait to make this for them!

    • Julie
      03/13/2014 at 9:53 am

      Hi Beth, unfortunately I do not have nutritional information. I do not think of myself as a certified nutritionist so I would be leading readers astray if I attempted to post such information. Run a Google search on nutritional calculators and hopefully you can find something that works for you and your family! Enjoy!

  46. Guinan
    03/16/2014 at 10:51 am

    I’m Low-Carbing and have found that MOST pasta recipes work just fine with Dreamfield Low Carb Pastas. Of course I’ll also sub sweetner for the sugar and use the non-light variety of the yoghurt and sour cream. Can’t wait to try it, sounds delishhh…. !!

    • Julie
      03/16/2014 at 7:40 pm

      Hope you enjoy!

  47. Lara
    06/22/2014 at 3:13 am

    This looks so yummy!!!! I often use yoghurt in my cooking, and make a similar version to this. You could add butter or cheese for the sauce it works for me and doesn’t split.

  48. Rachel
    07/29/2014 at 10:52 pm

    I only have sun dried tomatoes in oil. Can you advise?

    Thanks

    • Julie
      07/30/2014 at 8:42 am

      Hi Rachel, you can still use them but just make sure you drain them really well so there’s not excess oil on them. Try using paper towels to pat the oil off them. Enjoy!

  49. Georgeann A Lytle
    10/01/2014 at 5:31 am

    I made this last night. REALLY good!! Thank you :)

    • Julie
      10/01/2014 at 12:30 pm

      Awesome!!

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