Don’t mess with perfection.
A rich and deeply delicious pasta, worth every creamy, cheesy bite. This authentic Fettuccini Alfredo recipe is classic, authentic perfection — and takes minutes to make.
The Best Fettuccini Alfredo
This may not be a dinner for every day, but a classic, authentic bowl of fettuccini Alfredo just cannot be beat. Creamy, silky, and satisfyingly flavorful thanks to a hint of garlic and generous amounts of pecorino-Romano and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, this is one creamy pasta dinner you will truly savor.
Who Invented the Original Fettuccini Alfredo?
Fettuccini Alfredo originated as a simple, common dish of pasta with butter and Parmigiano cheese, which Rome restaurant owner Alfredo de Lelio prepared for his pregnant wife. His wife suffered from serious morning sickness and could not eat much during her pregnancy.
Alfredo de Lelio served the simple butter and cheese pasta with whatever pasta was around in the restaurant that day. But one day, in 1927, the American silent film actors Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford, on honeymoon, came to eat at the restaurant.
Fettuccini happened to be the pasta of the day when Alfredo served the couple served the butter and cheese pasta. They loved it so much that they spread the word back in Hollywood, and sent Alfredo a gift of two engraved, personalized golden spoons. Eventually, fettuccini Alfredo made its way stateside and evolved into a recipe with cream.
Why Is Fettuccini Alfredo Unhealthy? (The Inevitable Question)
One might expect the answer to, “Is fettuccini Alfredo healthy?” to be a solid no. After all, fettuccini Alfredo was dubbed a “heart attack on a plate” by C.S.P.I.
But on the other hand, every well-rounded, “healthy” diet deserves a treat now and then, right? So while this authentic fettuccini Alfredo recipe may not contain vegetables, fruit, fiber, or whole grains, I do think that a special treat can be appropriate in any diet.
What Ingredients Are in Fettuccini Alfredo?
Fettuccini Alfredo is a simple recipe, made with all the best food groups:
- Fettuccini pasta
- Heavy Cream
- Pecorino-Romano cheese
- Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese
- Egg yolk
- Salt and pepper
Authentic Fettuccini Alfredo: Recipe Notes
Fettuccini Alfredo sauce tastes uniquely creamy and makes liberal use of good, aged Italian grating cheeses and cream. A bit of garlic adds an additional, subtle flavor note, making for an extraordinary result.
Here are some more tips:
- Use good cheese. Do not skimp. Use actual pecorino-Romano cheese and real, aged Parmigiano-Reggiano.
- In keeping with Alfredo sauce’s retro vibe, and to add a punch of color, I like to garnish with good old-fashioned Italian parsley, with some extra black pepper on top.
How to Reheat Fettuccini Alfredo
Pasta dishes rarely reheat well in the microwave, which heats the pasta but also dries out the sauce. Fettuccini Alfredo is no exception. To reheat this dish so that it comes back to its silky, creamy best:
- Add just enough water to coat the bottom of a skillet.
- Add the leftover pasta.
- Reheat on medium-low, stirring occasionally, until it becomes creamy again and warmed throughout.
You will also like these Italian comfort food dishes:
Authentic Fettuccini Alfredo
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 1 egg yolk
- 12 ounces fettucini
- 1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated
- 1/2 cup pecorino-Romano cheese, grated, plus more to serve
- 12 turns freshly-cracked black pepper, plus more to serve
- kosher salt
- Cook the fettuccini in well-salted boiling water until just shy of al dente. It is done when the pasta is slightly undercooked.
- While the water comes to a boil and the pasta cooks, melt the butter in a deep skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and black pepper and cook until fragrant and sizzling, about one minute. Do not brown the garlic. It should only become deep yellow to slightly toasted in color. Lower the heat as necessary.
- Whisk together the heavy cream, egg yolk, and a large pinch of salt. Pour the cream mixture into the butter, garlic, and pepper. Reduce heat to medium-low and stir until the mixture is hot, but not bubbling. Keep warm, stirring occasionally, until the pasta has cooked.
- Using tongs, drag the fettuccini into the cream sauce, taking a little pasta water along with it. (Reserve the pasta water.) Turn the pasta in the skillet to fully coat and finish cooking. Add the cheese and keep folding gently until the cream is mostly absorbed. Taste for seasoning. If the sauce starts looking too dry or "tight," loosen it with warm pasta water, a tablespoon or so at a time.
- Serve, garnishing with a sprinkle of minced parsley, grated cheese, and some more black pepper.