Authentic Fettuccine Alfredo is the ultimate comfort food and so easy to make. You’re just 4 ingredients and 15 minute away from this delicious classic!
An amazing dish doesn’t require a long list of ingredients. In fact, some of the best recipes are the simplest like this Authentic Fettuccine Alfredo. For more simple and delicious recipes with few ingredients, try my 3-Ingredient Salsa Chicken, Kalua Pork, and Balsamic Glazed Slow Cooker Pork Loin.
Easy Fettuccine Alfredo
Unlike what you get at the Olive Garden, this Authentic Fettuccine Alfredo is as close to the original dish as you’ll get. Believe it or not but the real deal Fettuccine Alfredo doesn’t contain any cream or garlic. It’s just pasta, butter, parmesan, and pasta water. That creamy garlic sauce is still good but it’s not technically “Alfredo sauce”.
Ingredients for Fettuccine Alfredo:
- Fettuccine– Since this recipe has only a few ingredients, it’s important to choose a good quality pasta. If you have a pasta maker, fresh pasta would be awesome in this recipe! I use the brands Rao’s or Delallo.
- Unsalted Butter– Since the salty pasta water is added to the pasta, you’ll want to use unsalted butter so you have more control over the saltiness of the dish. Do not use any kind of imitation substitute. Use a good quality butter like Kerrygold.
- Parmigiano Reggiano– This is the real deal parmesan cheese. Buy a wedge of this from your local grocery store in the fancy cheese section by the deli. It is well worth the price and lasts up to 6 weeks. For best melting results, use a microplane to grate it.
- Salt– This is to add flavor to the pasta. Do not use iodized salt.
How to make Fettuccine Alfredo:
Time needed: 15 minutes
Place 4 Tbsp. butter (cut into pieces) in a large bowl and set aside.
- Boil Pasta
Fill a 4-5 quart pot with about 12 cups of water and bring to a boil. Stir in 1 1/2 Tbsp. salt, 8 ounces fettuccine, and cook until al dente.
Use tongs to transfer pasta to the bowl of butter and toss with the tongs. (Alternatively, ladle out about 1 cup of the starchy water and set aside. Drain the pasta and add to bowl of butter.)
- Add Cheese
Add 2 1/2 ounces parmesan cheese and about 1/4 cup pasta water and toss/stir gently. While tossing, add more pasta water as needed until a smooth and creamy sauce is formed.
Serve garnished with more parmesan cheese and chopped parsley (optional).
History of Fettuccine Alfredo
Fettuccine Alfredo (also known as fettuccine al burro “fettuccine with butter”) was created in Rome by Alfredo di Lelio around 1908. He made this dish for his pregnant wife who had little appetite for many foods. It was first served in his mother’s restaurant and made at the tableside, accompanied by violin music. By the 1920s the dish was discovered by American travelers and made further popular by visiting celebrities.
NOOOOO!!!! Never rinse pasta that will be served warm with a sauce. The pasta has a layer of starch on the surface and this is what helps the sauce to cling to and soak into the noodles.
While cooking, the pasta releases some of its starches into the salty water. Those starches act as a thickening agent to create a thick, rich, flavorful, silky sauce that clings to the pasta. Add some starchy pasta water to any pasta dish to take it from average to restaurant quality.
This is a hard, granular cow’s milk cheese that has aged for a minimum of 12 months, some up to 4 years. It has a rich, sharp, fruity/nutty flavor. In the U.S.A. cheeses that are labeled “Parmesan” are likely not a genuine Parmigiano Reggiano.
Salt adds flavor to the water which is then absorbed by the pasta. To avoid pitting in stainless steel pots, wait to add the salt until water comes to a boil.
Any salt will work (table salt, sea salt, kosher salt) but try to avoid iodized salt as it creates a metallic off taste.
No! Just use a large pot. After just 10 seconds of boiling the noodles should soften enough to bend and submerge all the way. A large deep pot allows room for the noodles to move freely so they cook evenly and avoid clumping together.
TOOLS USED TO MAKE THIS PASTA DISH:
- Pyrex Mixing Bowls with Lids– I used one of these bowls to toss the pasta. I love these mixing bowls with lids because then I am able to stack things up with the fridge.
- Silicon Pasta Tongs– I love using these tongs for tossing and serving long pastas because it doesn’t rip the noodles apart.
- Microplane/ Zester– This is what I used to finely shave the parmesan cheese. The finer the parmesan is shaved, the easier it melts to create that delicious sauce. You can also use this tool to zest lemons and limes.
- Pot & Skillet Set– These are the skillets and pots I use. They have a heavy bottom making them sturdy and cook the food evenly. I use the large 5 quart pot to boil noodles.
LOOKING FOR MORE CREAMY PASTA? CHECK OUT THESE:
- Macaroni Grill’s Chicken Pasta Milano
- Pasta con Broccoli
- Creamy Mushroom Pasta
- Creamy Tomato Chicken Florentine Pasta
- 30-Minute Pasta Primavera
- 8 ounces fettuccine
- 1 1/2 tablespoons fine salt, (Not iodized!)
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into thin pieces
- 2 1/2 ounces parmigiano reggiano, finely grated* (about 2 1/2 cups)
- Place 4 Tbsp. butter (cut into pieces) in a large bowl and set aside.
- Fill a 4-5 quart pot with about 12 cups of water and bring to a boil. Stir in 1 1/2 Tbsp. salt, 8 ounces fettuccine, and cook until al dente.
- Use tongs to transfer pasta to the bowl of butter and toss with the tongs. (Alternatively, ladle out about 1 cup of the starchy water and set aside. Drain the pasta and add to bowl of butter.)
- Add 2 1/2 ounces parmesan cheese and about 1/4 cup pasta water and toss/stir gently. While tossing, add more pasta water as needed until a smooth and creamy sauce is formed.
- Serve garnished with more parmesan cheese and chopped parsley (optional).