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4 Ingredient Fettuccine Alfredo

With temperatures getting cooler, I am feeling the need for a warm bowl of pasta. This simple and classic, 4 ingredient Fettuccine Alfredo is just what the doctor ordered.

Fettuccine Alfredo

My favorite Fettuccine Alfredo recipe is a classic Italian one with just 4 ingredients. Yes, they are 4 rich, sensual ingredients which means that Fettuccine Alfredo is not an everyday dish. But that’s OK. Because when one does sit down to  big bowl of this luxurious Italian pasta, it is a bowl that is so satisfying it will hold you over to the next time you need something to satisfy all your senses. Often for special meals I made pasta, because what kid doesn’t like pasta?   From a cook’s perspective there isn’t much that is simpler to make, and from a diner’s perspective it is hard to beat sensuous noodles glazed with cream and butter topped with rich, snowy flakes of Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Marcella Hazan is one of my favorite Italian writers who is credited with introducing classic Italian cooking to the United States. I was gifted one of her first cookbooks back in 1979 when I graduated college and through the years it has seen a lot of use. Her simple four ingredient Fettuccine Alfredo recipe is not a pasta with white sauce or garlic or gloppy cheese. However it is redolent with the flavors of rich cream, butter and real Parmigiano-Reggiano. Yes, this is the time to use the real stuff. Grate it fresh and you will be rewarded with the salty, rich, granular flavor of this outstanding cheese.

I’ve seen so many versions of fettuccine that are ruined by the addition of flour and/or cream cheese.  Fettuccine Alfredo does not contain garlic. It really doesn’t. It doesn’t contain flour and it doesn’t contain cream cheese or milk. It contains cream. Heavy cream. The dieter’s nemesis. The diner’s delight! It contains butter, not oil, or God forbid margarine. And no garlic. Please no garlic.  Marcella’s Fettuccine Alfredo recipe contains not much in the way of ingredients, but those simple ingredients combine to make a dish that everyone desires. The optional nutmeg grating is up to you, but I have found myself slowly recognizing the need for those spicy, tiny brown flakes.

There aren’t many foods sexier than Fettuccine Alfredo. And there aren’t many foods that are simpler to make. I am sure we could have a discussion on other sexy foods such as lobster and truffles and caviar and oysters, and let’s not forget chocolate, but those sexy foods, (besides the chocolate) aren’t easily served to those under the age of 18. (Though I bet my kids would have eaten them.).  We often ate Fettuccine Alfredo for Valentine’s Day. We had the red balloons, the red candles, the red flowers and always a stuffed animal. Even if Valentine’s Day fell during the week I always went out of my way to make dinner special and this classic Italian specialty was one way to do it.

How do you make Fettuccine Alfredo Sauce?

Fettuccine Alfredo sauce is made by combining heavy cream and butter and simmering for less than one minute. Add this to the pasta along with cheese and seasonings and that’s it. I do recommend using fettuccine pasta because of its thick and flat surface. This allows the cream to sit on the pasta and the thickness of the pasta helps conquer the richness of the dish. No rinsing the pasta ever! The starch on the pasta also helps thicken the sauce and allows the cheese and sauce to stick to it.

Fettuccine Alfredo

What goes with Fettuccine Alfredo?

I often served the fettuccine with  steak, but that is a lot of richness. I’m happy to just eat this with a salad, garlic bread and red wine. I love Fettuccine Alfredo with red wine and don’t forget it. I know many would say white, but not me. Now if I had a truffle, I would shave some on top. But I don’t have a truffle, so I will not. If I had lovely slices of chicken breast they would perch quite nicely on top of this bed of pasta, but I do not. If I had some grilled shrimp, those would work well on the side. But I do not have grilled shrimp. so I will just devour this quite simply noodle by noodle, and then ask for the chocolate cake. Which goes very well with red wine, too!

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Fettuccine Alfredo

This is an updated post from 2016.
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Fettuccine Alfredo

4 Ingredient Fettuccine Alfredo

  • Author: Abbe Odenwalder
  • Prep Time: 5 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 Minutes
  • Total Time: 15 Minutes
  • Yield: 4-6 Servings 1x
  • Category: Main Course
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: Italian

Description

With temperatures getting cooler, I am feeling the need for a warm bowl of pasta. This simple and classic, 4 ingredient Fettuccine Alfredo is just what the doctor ordered.


Ingredients

Scale

1 lb of the best Italian 100 % durum wheat semolina fettuccine
1 c heavy cream
3 T butter
Salt
2/3 c freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and more for serving
46 grinds of freshly ground pepper
A tiny shaving of nutmeg, which is optional


Instructions

Boil pasta in well salted water, according to directions. Please only cook this al dente! No mushy pasta! Drain well but please do not rinse!

In a large pot that can accommodate all the pasta, put in 2/3 c of the cream and all the butter and simmer over medium heat for less than 1 minute, until the butter and cream have slightly thickened. Set aside.

When pasta is cooked, add it to pot with butter and cream. Turn the burner to low and toss the fettuccine, coating the pasta with the sauce. Add the rest of the cream, all the cheese, 1/2 t salt,  4-6 grinds of black pepper and nutmeg if you want. Toss briefly and serve with more grated cheese.


Notes

Thank you Marcella Hazan.

Keywords: fettuccine Alfredo recipe, fettuccine Alfredo sauce, fettuccine Alfredo easy

More to Try from Marcella:

Spaghetti Bolognese

Spaghetti Bolognese

Linguini with White Clam Sauce

Linguini with Clam Sauce

Easy and Famous Tomato Sauce

Easy and Famous Tomato Sauce

 

lisaiscooking

Monday 7th of October 2019

Fettuccine alfredo is one of my favorite things! Love this simplicity. I wish I could eat it every day.

Balvinder

Saturday 5th of October 2019

Just love this simple pasta recipe. Thanks!

Abbe Odenwalder

Sunday 6th of October 2019

Thanks! It is deliciously simple!

sippitysup

Thursday 3rd of October 2019

I made this last night for dinner. I threw in peas and used shell-shaped pasta. It was delicious! GREG

Abbe Odenwalder

Saturday 5th of October 2019

So happy you enjoyed it Greg! The peas make it healthy, right? Marcella is never wrong!

Juliana

Wednesday 2nd of October 2019

Hi Abbe...somehow I have never made fettuccini Alfredo...and I am loving the 4 ingredients only...looks delicious and perfect for the cooler weather as you mention...thanks for the recipe... Have a wonderful rest of the week!

Abbe Odenwalder

Saturday 5th of October 2019

You must give it a go Juliana. You won't be disappointed.

Liz

Wednesday 2nd of October 2019

Mmmmm......can never resist this classic pasta dish!! I think Fall temps will actually arrive this week!! xo

Abbe Odenwalder

Saturday 5th of October 2019

When it is made right, it really is the best. Can't wait to see you Liz!

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