Move over, Olive Garden! This homemade fettuccine Alfredo is richer, creamier, and delectable!
After all, nothing beats the mouthwatering combination of al dente pasta and luscious, buttery white sauce.
If you think this classic dish requires some expertise in the kitchen, think again.
Fettuccine Alfredo only calls for basic ingredients and a few simple steps.
Be warned, though. It’s dangerously addictive, and it’s not healthy at all.
Luckily, it tastes just like an Olive Garden copycat recipe (read: insanely luxurious and decadent).
Creamy Fettuccine Alfredo
Fettuccine Alfredo was invented by Alfredo di Lelio, owner of a Roman restaurant called Via Della Scrofa, in 1914.
His goal was to make comfort food for his wife, who was then having a difficult time with her pregnancy.
The original recipe for Fettuccine Alfredo used a simple combination of garlic, butter, and parmesan cheese.
The cheese acts as an emulsifier to thicken the sauce.
Over time, the recipe has evolved, adding heavy cream to the mix to make the sauce even creamier.
Fettuccine Alfredo and Carbonara: What’s the Difference?
While they look and taste similar, there are a few differences between fettuccine Alfredo and carbonara.
First, classic carbonara uses spaghetti, while fettuccine Alfredo uses Fettuccine. No surprises there.
Another key difference is how the sauce is achieved.
Carbonara uses a combination of oil, egg yolks, and parmesan to create its sauce.
Meanwhile, Alfredo uses butter and heavy cream. For this reason, Alfredo sauce is thicker, more buttery, and more velvety than carbonara.
Fettuccine Alfredo is often served as protein-rich chicken or shrimp Alfredo.
Meanwhile, carbonara typically features bits of guanciale or bacon for a crunchy and salty contrast.
(Check out this post ‘what is guanciale‘ if you’re curious.)
- Fettuccine – It’s not Fettuccine Alfredo without the Fettuccine!
- Butter and Heavy Cream – Together, they form the base of the sauce.
- Salt and Pepper – To taste.
- Garlic Salt – Traditional Fettuccine Alfredo calls for fresh minced garlic, but to save time and energy, we’ll use garlic salt instead.
- Grated Romano and Parmesan Cheeses – Aside from flavor, the cheeses are also crucial in thickening the sauce.
How to Make Fettuccine Alfredo
It’s so easy, you’ll wonder why you haven’t tried it sooner!
1. Cook the pasta.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the Fettuccine for 8 to 10 minutes, or until al dente.
Drain the water, but leave some in case you need to thin out the sauce. Set the pasta aside.
2. Cook the Alfredo sauce.
Combine the butter and heavy cream in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir until the butter is melted.
Up the heat to medium and let the sauce reduce for about 5 minutes. Season with salt, pepper, and garlic salt.
3. Add the cheeses.
Mix in the Romano and parmesan cheeses until melted. The cheeses should help thicken the sauce.
Continue to cook until the sauce is thick.
Stir the sauce constantly, scraping the sides and bottom of the pan, to prevent scorching or curdling.
Add more cheese if you want to thicken the sauce, or more heavy cream or pasta water to thin it out.
Toss in the Fettuccine, coating the noodles evenly with the sauce.
4. Serve and enjoy!
Garnish with more cheese, if desired. Bacon bits and fresh parsley make great additions, too.
Tips for the Perfect Fettuccine Alfredo
- Cook the pasta to a perfect al dente. I like to cook it for a minute less than the package instructions so it’s nice and firm.
- Add fresh garlic to the sauce for a more garlic-forward Alfredo. Mince some garlic (let your heart dictate how much) and saute it with the butter, and then add the cream.
- Use the cheeses to adjust the sauce’s thickness. Add more if you want to thicken the sauce.
- It’s better to grate the cheese yourself. They’ll melt much better than pre-shredded cheese.
- Stir the sauce constantly. This’ll keep it from sticking and curdling at the bottom.
- If the sauce is too thick, thin it out with more cream. You can also use some of the pasta water to adjust the sauce’s thickness.
- Garnish Fettuccine Alfredo with more cheese. Aside from parmesan and Romano, you can also add mozzarella for ooey-gooey pasta.
- This dish is calorie-heavy! To make a lighter version, swap out the heavy cream for half-and-half, Greek yogurt, or milk.
How to Store Fettuccine Alfredo
If you can, store the sauce and the pasta separately. Keep the sauce in a jar or airtight container and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.
I doubt it’ll last that long, though!
If you’ve already combined the sauce and pasta, store the leftovers in a covered bowl or air-tight container. Refrigerate it for up to 5 days.
When reheating Alfredo sauce, the key is to go low and slow. This will keep the butter and cream from separating.
Heat the sauce in a heavy saucepan over low heat until warmed through, stirring constantly to keep the bottom from scorching.
In case the sauce separates, add a little bit of cream to help it come together.
I don’t recommend freezing Fettuccine Alfredo, but in case you have to, I suggest you store the sauce separately.
Transfer the sauce to a freezer-safe container and freeze. Thaw it over low heat and stir it constantly until warmed through.
What to Serve with Fettuccine Alfredo
Fettuccine Alfredo is undeniably rich and decadent, so it’s nice to top or pair it with a side dish for a well-balanced meal.
- To me, you can’t go wrong with breaded and fried chicken fillets. It’s a great way to add protein to the dish. Plus, the alfredo can double as a sauce for the chicken.
- No pasta is complete without a side of garlic bread! Slather baguette slices with butter, top with minced garlic, and toast.
- Bacon, Guanciale, or Prosciutto – basically, any crunchy, crispy, and salty meat. Chop them up to bits and sprinkle on top. This is a perfect way to add saltiness to the dish.
- If you find the sauce way too rich, tone it down with broccoli florets.
Check this out for more fantastic Fettuccine Alfredo pairings!
More Pasta Recipes You’ll Love
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