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The Ultimate Comfort Food: How to Make Creamy Fettuccine Alfredo

By Edited Jul 6, 2015 1 0

A Rich, Creamy, Buttery Indulgent Taste Treat

Fettuccine Alfredo is a rich and creamy pasta dish made with fettuccine pasta tossed with Parmesan cheese, cream and butter. The original recipe, named by a Roman restaurateur, Alfredo Di Lelio, used only cheese and butter. The hot pasta would melt the cheese and butter creating a lovely sauce that would coat the pasta. The modern day version adds a bit of garlic and heavy cream to enhance and enrich the sauce even further. A generous handful of freshly chopped Italian parsley and several cranks of fresh-cracked black pepper cuts the sweetness of this rich dish perfectly. 

Fettuccine Alfredo
Credit: © Elkeflorida | Dreamstime.com

Ingredients: Serves 4 for dinner, 6 for lunch.

  • 1 lb. of fettuccine pasta, fresh or dried
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter
  • 1 small shallot, minced (optional)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups (1 pint) heavy cream (or whipping cream)
  • 2 cups Parmesan cheese, freshly grated (Use the REAL stuff!)
  • A generous handful of FRESH Italian parsley, rough chopped (reserve a few sprigs for garnish)
  • Salt and plenty of FRESH ground black pepper to taste

A Quick How-to Video for Fettuccine Alfredo for Two


  • Put a large pot of cold water on to boil. (4 quarts for a pound of pasta)
  • Once the water is at a rolling boil, add 2 tablespoons of salt and drop in the pasta.
  • Bring the water back to a boil stirring occasonally to prevent sticking.
  • Cook the pasta "al dente" (just firm to the bite). Note: fresh pasta takes VERY little time so start your sauce before you add the fresh pasta to the water.
  • If adding veggies, add them 2 minutes before the pasta is done. Reserve a half cup of the starchy pasta water and set aside.
  • As the pasta cooks, melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.
  • Add the minced shallot and cook for 2 minutes, stirring gently.
  • Add the garlic and stir, cooking gently for a minute or 2 until fragrant. (don't let the garlic brown or burn or it will become bitter!)
  • Add the cream and stir together. Add a pinch of salt and a few cranks of black pepper to taste. Heat the cream until it is just bubbly around the edges. Don't allow it to boil! Remove the cream sauce from the heat once hot.
  • Drain the pasta in a colander and add it back into the hot pot. Add the cream sauce. Use a spatula to scrape the edges of the saucepan to get every last drop of deliciousness!
  • Toss the pasta and cream sauce together until the strands are completely coated. Add 1 cup of the grated cheese and continue to stir. 
  • Add the reserved pasta water, a splash at a time, to smooth out the sauce to a lovely, satiny finish.
  • Add the chopped FRESH parsley and stir in just before serving.
  • Garnish with a few cranks of fresh black pepper, the remaining grated cheese and a few sprigs of parsley. Serve immediately.

Notes and Recipe Variations

This is a fast and easy recipe made with just a few key ingredients. If you can, use REAL imported Parmegiano Reggiano cheese (look for the brand on the rind denoting the authentic product from Parma, Italy). It is pricey but a little goes a long way and the flavor is so worth it! For added protein, toss in diced chicken or shrimp. A cup of fresh peas or steamed asparagus adds a nice freshness and nutritional boost. Always add the fresh ITALIAN parsley (much better flavor than curly parsley) at the end for the best flavor. And LOTS of fresh cracked black pepper is key!! Rich, creamy and delicious, this is a favorite recipe for all ages. 

The Perfect Sauce for Fresh Pasta

Fettuccine pasta nests, close up
Credit: © Subbotina | Dreamstime.com

Fresh fettuccine (homemade or store bought) requires a delicate and subtle sauce that won't overpower the taste and texture of the pasta. Creamy Alfredo sauce is an excellent choice. Follow the lead of the Italians and use just enough sauce to coat the pasta but no more. You're looking for a balanced "mouth feel"...the slightly chewy bite of the al dente pasta, the rich, sweet creaminess of the sauce followed by the sharp tang of the Parmesan cheese and black pepper. Carefully twirl two or three strands at a time on your fork and savor each and every bite. Serious pasta perfection! Put your fork down between mouthfuls and sip a chilled glass of crisp, extra dry white wine or a dry rosé to enhance the flavor even further. Follow with a refreshing green salad, fresh fruit and espresso for a lovely, satisfying and richly rewarding homemade dinner. 

Make Fresh Fettuccine Easily Right at Home

CucinaPro Imperia Pasta Machine
Amazon Price: $99.72 $47.00 Buy Now
(price as of Jul 6, 2015)
This easy-to-use pasta machine will have you cranking out fresh fettuccine - and other delicious pasta - in no time. It's fun too!

Try Celebrity Chef Giada's Gorgeous Pasta Cookbook

Everyday Pasta
Amazon Price: $32.50 $2.35 Buy Now
(price as of Jul 6, 2015)
Food Network Celebrity Chef Giada's recipes are easy, healthy and delicious. Make pasta a part of your everyday with this beautiful cookbook.


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