I love Fettucine Alfredo so very much; I love the simplicity of the original, classic recipe that yields such a creamy, richly flavoured dish. However, with only three ingredients (fettucine, butter, and Parmesan) there’s nowhere to hide, so you’d better know your stuff and be using the best quality items you can afford. Your dinner recipients had also better be ready to eat right.that.instant, as classic fettucine waits for no man; you want to see how quickly a sauce breaks when it’s only made with cheese and butter? You can clock classic alfredo sauce’s descent from divine creaminess to split yuckyness in about as long as the average person can hold their breath.
Sometimes I just want fettucine alfredo but without the added stress of eating it like a starving honey badger before it turns into a gloopy cheese brick, and that’s where this recipe comes in. This creamy alfredo sauce has virtually all of the same richness as the classic does, and even better, it doesn’t split nearly as quickly. And to be honest, there’s something very comforting to me about making a creamy, high-end cheese sauce to pour over fettucine noodles; it’s essentially an adult’s mac and cheese.
This creamy, slightly garlicky sauce has only a few more ingredients than the traditional fettucine-parmesan-butter combination, but in my opinion is all the better for it. If you’re looking for something more substantial, try mix-ins like grilled shrimp, sliced cooked chicken breast or ham cubes, or maybe some cooked vegetables like broccoli or spinach, or even raw veggies like diced tomatoes or even a spoonful or two of fresh pico de gallo or toasted buttered breadcrumbs on top. Make this recipe yours and the recipients of your culinary prowess will thank you (and likely insist on adding this as a frequent option in the dinner rotation).
YIELD: 4 svgs | PREP: 5 mins | COOK: 20 mins
- 500g/1lb dry fettucine noodles
- ½ cup/114g salted butter
- 1 clove garlic, finely minced (use a Microplane if you have one)
- 1 cup/237mL table or whipping cream
- 2 cups/200g freshly grated, good quality hard cheese, such as Parmesan, Romano, Gruyère or Manchego, or a mixture
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Optional additions: cooked shrimp, sliced chicken breast or diced ham, vegetables (fresh or cooked), toasted panko breadcrumbs, etc.
- 2 tsp/0.25g dried parsley or 2 tbsp/8g fresh parsley
- Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a rolling boil. Add fettucine noodles and cook according to manufacturer’s directions. Your pasta should be done at the same time as your sauce.
- Meanwhile, heat a large non-stick or cast-iron frypan on medium-low heat. Add butter and melt until foamy. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently; do not allow to burn or brown. Add cream and heat, stirring frequently and gently scraping the bottom of the pan to ensure it’s not scorching, until heated through and starting to bubble slightly.
- Add shredded cheese in single handfuls, stirring until the first handful is melted into the cream before adding the next, in order to minimize clumping. Reserve a small amount for sprinkling on the top while serving. If sauce becomes too thick, don’t worry; this can be rectified later.
- Taste for flavour and add salt and pepper to taste. Depending on the saltiness of the cheese used you may not need to add any salt. If adding pre-cooked mix-ins, add them now to warm them in the sauce.
- If you timed everything well and your pasta is just ready, instead of draining the pasta, using a pair of tongs start adding noodles to pan directly from the boiling water. The pasta water clinging to the noodles will help thin out the sauce and bring the dish together. Gently fold the noodles into the sauce until they are completely covered. If you feel the sauce is still a little too thick, ladle small amounts of hot pasta water into the sauce and incorporate until your desired sauciness is reached. Conversely, if you find your sauce is too thin, continue to stir over very low heat until it thickens up. However, a little too saucy is better than too thick, especially if you want seconds.
- Sprinkle chopped parsley and the reserved cheese overtop and serve immediately. If adding fresh ingredients such as pico de gallo, diced green onions, or breadcrumbs, decorate the tops of each plate of fettucine, or leave in bowls for your guests to decorate their own meals.