Classic Fettuccine Alfredo is a homemade alfredo sauce full of flavor that is rich and creamy and the perfect complement to fettuccini noodles. Use the same homemade sauce for my Chicken Alfredo Stuffed Shells.
Classic Fettuccine Alfredo
This alfredo sauce has minimal ingredients, but the beauty of the flavors really shines through. The sauce is a beautiful, silky consistency that reminds me of fancy restaurants, but the taste is pure. One of the ways to achieve this perfect fettuccine alfredo is to make sure your ingredients are of the best possible quality. I like to splurge and get a really good parmesan cheese and grate it myself. And, to really step it up, make your own homemade pasta!
Fettuccine Alfredo Ingredients
Pasta: Of course, this recipe has fettuccine in the name, so I used fettuccine pasta. The thick pasta does serve a purpose, however. Adding the alfredo sauce to the pasta keeps the noodles from sticking together. But, you can also enjoy the creamy white sauce on any noodles you have. Be sure to reserve about a half cup of pasta water after you drain the noodles. I will explain that later.
Heavy Cream: I have heard it said more than once that “real” fettuccine alfredo does not include cream and should only be cheese, butter, and pasta water. That version is fabulous and authentic! But, this version is what I grew up on and by no means am I claiming it’s authentic. I am claiming, however, that it’s simply delicious.
Parmesan Cheese: If you can grate your own parmesan cheese, you will get the best results in this recipe. And, don’t forget to grate a little extra for the topping!
How to Make Classic Fettuccine Alfredo
Once you see how easy this sauce is to make, you will never buy a jar of the sauce again. And, this tastes so much better than any store-bought alfredo! To get started, cook the fettuccine noodles al dente, according to package instructions. As the noodles are boiling, make the sauce.
To make the sauce, first, melt the butter in a large saucepan. Next, add the cream, salt, and pepper. Bring the mixture to a slow, rolling boil. Then, reduce the heat and let the mixture simmer for 3-5 minutes, or until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
Remove the butter mixture from the heat and stir in the grated parmesan cheese. At this point, the pasta should be cooked al dente and be ready to drain, if you didn’t make it before you made the sauce. When you drain the pasta, reserve about a half cup of pasta water to use.
Once the pasta has been drained, add it to a serving plate or bowl. Pour the alfredo sauce over the pasta, tossing to coat. This is the time you could add pasta water to the fettuccini alfredo to reach your desired consistency of the dish. I added a quarter cup of pasta water. Serve immediately, topped with some more parmesan cheese and parsley.
Why Reserve Pasta Water?
There are a few pasta recipes I have that recommend reserving pasta water for the sauce (Vodka Sauce and Spicy Gnocchi Bread Bowl). But, is it important? Yes! The pasta water is added to the sauce and cooked noodles. The starch from the pasta water also helps bind the sauce and pasta together rather than simply coating the noodles. This gives you a full-flavored taste in every bite!
Classic Fettuccine Alfredo
- 8 ounces fettuccine noodles
- 2 tablespoons salted butter
- 1 cup (238g) heavy cream
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ½ cup (100g) parmesan cheese, freshly grated, plus more for garnish
- parsley, for garnish (optional)
- Cook fettuccine noodles according to package directions.
- Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, melt butter. Then, add cream, salt, and pepper. Bring to a slow rolling boil.
- Reduce heat and simmer for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the mixture begins to thicken. (It should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.)
- Remove from heat and stir in ½ cup grated parmesan cheese.
- Drain pasta, reserving a half cup of pasta water. Transfer the drained pasta to a serving dish.
- Add alfredo sauce to the dish of cooked noodles. Add pasta water (I used ¼ cup) to reach your desired consistency of the sauce. Toss to combine.
- Serve immediately. If desired, sprinkle with additional parmesan cheese and parsley.
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