Classic Fettuccine Alfredo

Classic Fettuccine Alfredo

Classic Fettuccine Alfredo

This classic fettuccine Alfredo is made with cream, butter, Parmesan cheese, and parsley. It’s a pasta comfort food at its finest, and an Italian dish made with just a few basic ingredients that most home cooks are likely to have on hand.

As with any recipe that has few ingredients, it is important that each one is fresh and of the best quality you can get. Make sure you use freshly grated Parmesan cheese—the kind you buy in a block and grate yourself, not the kind from a can.

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You also want to use fresh parsley and not dried, if possible. For a special treat, buy fresh fettuccine instead of using dried pasta from a box—or make your own homemade pasta. Fettuccine is a fresh pasta that’s not hard to make.

Kosher salt, to taste
1 pound dried fettuccine
1/2 cup unsalted butter
2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 cups Parmesan cheese, freshly grated, plus more for garnish
2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, chopped, plus more for garnish
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Steps to Make It

Gather the ingredients.

Ingredients for fettuccine Alfredo

Fill a large stock pot with cold water and add a handful or so of kosher salt. Stir and taste; it should taste like seawater. Cover pot and heat water until it boils.

Boil water

Drop fettuccine into boiling salted water and cook according to package instructions, about 6 to 9 minutes, or until al dente or tender, but still firm to the bite.

Cook fettuccine in boiled water

While fettuccine cooks, heat butter and cream in a large sauté pan over medium-low heat until it starts to bubble.

Butter and cream melting in a sauté pan

Lower heat and simmer gently for about 15 minutes or until sauce has reduced somewhat. Remove from heat.

Lower the heat on the cream and butter and simmer gently
Add cheese and toss until fully mixed. Adjust consistency with additional cream if necessary.

Add the cheese and toss
Stir in chopped parsley. Season to taste with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Stir in the chopped parsley
Drain fettuccine and toss with Alfredo sauce.

Drain the pasta in a colander
If desired, sprinkle with additional Parmesan cheese and garnish with additional chopped parsley.

Fettuccine alfredo sprinkled with cheese and chopped parsley
When making cream-based sauces, you might be tempted to substitute milk or half and half for the heavy cream, but these ingredients do no behave the same way in the pan. Milk and half-and-half will curdle when simmered, but heavy cream is more stable, which is why it’s the choice for cream sauces.

How to Store and Freeze Fettuccine Alfredo
Fettuccine Alfredo will keep covered in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days. If you would like to freeze this dish, it’s advised to undercook the pasta slightly. This way, when you freeze and reheat it, the pasta will be tender and not mushy.

Recipe Variations
You can make fettuccine Alfredo even more special by adding protein or vegetables. Some grilled chicken, sliced into strips, is great, and so is cooked shrimp.
For a vegetarian Alfredo, toss in some sautéed mushrooms or steamed asparagus. Peas, broccoli, and/or sliced green onion tops are also a nice addition to any versions of fettuccine Alfredo.
If you are eating vegan, there are a few ways to alter this recipe to accommodate your needs, whether you use a dairy-free roux in place of the cheese or tofu and vegan cream cheese.
Saute 2 to 3 cloves of garlic, minced, in half of the butter for about 2 minutes. Add to the cream along with the remaining butter pieces and continue with the recipe.
Make it a spicy chicken Alfredo. Slice 4 chicken tenderloins into small pieces. Brown the chicken in a small amount of vegetable oil or butter in a skillet. Sprinkle with seasoned salt or Cajun or Creole seasoning. Toss the cooked chicken with the fettuccine and sauce.