Classic Fettuccine Alfredo

Fettuccine Alfredo
Amy Neunsinger / Getty Images
  • Total: 20 mins
  • Prep: 5 mins
  • Cook: 15 mins
  • Yield: Serves 4 to 6
Ratings (40)

Fettuccine Alfredo is made with cream, butter, Parmesan cheese, and parsley. It is a traditional Italian pasta dish created by a restaurant owner named Alfredo for his pregnant wife in Italy in the early 1900s. After two famous silent movie stars visited the restaurant and saw the dish, they requested Alfredo make it for them as well. They loved it so much, they brought the recipe back to the states. Years later, Alfredo opened a restaurant in New York City, making fettuccine Alfredo a standard item on Italian restaurant menus.​

What You'll Need

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

How to Make It

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

  2. Drop the fettuccine into the 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.

  3. While the fettuccine cooks, heat the butter and cream in a large sauté pan over medium-low heat until it starts to bubble. Lower the heat and simmer gently for about 15 minutes or until the sauce has reduced somewhat. Remove from heat.

  1. Add the cheese and toss until fully mixed. Adjust consistency with additional cream if necessary.

  2. Stir in the chopped parsley. Season to taste with Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.

  3. Drain the fettuccine and toss with the Alfredo sauce. If desired, sprinkle with additional Parmesan cheese, garnish with additional chopped parsley, and serve right away.

Tips and Variations

As with any recipe that has few ingredients, it is important that each ingredient is fresh and the best quality you can get. Make sure your cream is rich and thick and that the Parmesan cheese is freshly grated (from the refrigerated cheese section, not from the shelves in a canister). You also want to use fresh parsley and not dried. For a special treat, buy fresh fettuccine instead of from a box. 

It's a lovely sauce served just as it is, but to make fettuccini Alfredo even more special you can add a protein or vegetables. Some grilled chicken, sliced into strips, turns the dish into chicken Alfredo. If you add cooked shrimp, the pasta becomes shrimp Alfredo; for a vegetarian Alfredo, toss in some sautéed mushrooms or steamed asparagus. Peas are also a nice addition no matter if you add other ingredients or not.

If you are keeping a vegan diet, there are a few ways to alter this recipe to accommodate your needs, whether it be using a roux in place of the cheese or tofu and vegan cream cheese.

Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
916 Calories
67g Fat
61g Carbs
20g Protein
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)