This Fettuccine Alfredo Recipe Is Easier Than It Looks

According to Maren Epstein, all home cooks should have a recipe they can pull out of their hats when last-minute guests stop by. For the professional chef, who blogs and shares healthy recipes and tips at Eating Works, her go-to "wow" dinner is fettuccine Alfredo. "I like to make this when I need an impressive meal on the fly," she told Mashed. But don't worry — this meal literally comes together with eight ingredients, one of which is totally optional, and several of which you definitely already have on hand in your fridge or pantry.

Epstein's easy yet impressive pasta dish can definitely stand by itself. As she told us, "I usually serve it alone for my daughter." But she added about the creamy, indulgent meal, "It pairs as a nice side for fish and meat dishes." 

So, if you have ten minutes and a desire to serve a cream sauce that will make friends and family think you spent hours in the kitchen, this fettuccine Alfredo recipe is for you.

Gather your fettuccine Alfredo recipe ingredients

Shop for the ingredients for this fettuccine Alfredo recipe ahead of time so you can whip this up at the last minute when the need arises. You'll buy fettuccine pasta, and if you do not have the following on hand, the dish also calls for salted butter, heavy cream, nutmeg, pepper, Parmesan cheese, an egg, and red wine vinegar, which Epstein explains is optional. 

As far as why Epstein recommends using salted butter for this meal, she explained to Mashed, "Salted butter works best because the cream used to make up the majority of the sauce is bland." She also adds, "There isn't enough salt in the Parmesan cheese to balance out the flavor." Meanwhile, she also told us that using heavy cream is highly recommended, noting, "Half and half is too sweet, and regular milk isn't thick enough." Want to make a vegan version of fettuccine Alfredo? "I'm sure an oat milk would work well!" Epstein said.

Cook the pasta and prep fettuccine Alfredo recipe sauce

Step one of this fettuccine Alfredo recipe is to simply bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Experts recommend adding a teaspoon and a half of salt per liter of pasta water for ideal results. You will cook the Fettuccini according to the package instructions, Epstein says. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, go ahead and melt your butter over medium heat. Once the butter is fully melted, you'll add the heavy cream, the nutmeg, and the pepper. As you cook the creamy mixture, be sure to stir it occasionally until the sauce is bubbling.

We asked Epstein why she added nutmeg to this recipe, as one might not expect to find the spice in a savory pasta recipe. She explained to Mashed, "Nutmeg adds a bit of nuttiness to the sauce that helps give it a nice finish." According to her, "Traditional fettuccine Alfredo always uses nutmeg." If you are out of nutmeg, mace and the Indian spice garam masala make nice substitutes.

Add the egg yolk to this fettuccine Alfredo recipe

At this stage of this fettuccine Alfredo recipe, with your pasta cooking away and your cream sauce for the Alfredo coming together, you will add the grated Parmesan cheese to the saucepan, stirring it into the mixture until it's completely melted. Then comes the cool part — you add an egg yolk and stir it into the sauce. Epstein offers this tip for the egg incorporation step: "Whisk the yolk into the sauce while it is on low heat. This will ensure that the egg won't scramble."

Now, simmer your thick and creamy sauce for about five minutes. At this stage, you can add red wine vinegar and salt to taste. Why vinegar? As Epstein explains, "While the vinegar isn't traditional, I thought that the sauce needed a little bit of acidity to balance out the flavor." She adds, "Red wine vinegar is a nice, mild vinegar commonly used in Italian cooking. So it did the trick!" Go ahead and give it a try to see if you enjoy the acid boost.

Serve your deliciously impressive fettuccine Alfredo recipe

Now, you are almost ready to serve up your special, last-minute fettuccine Alfredo recipe to impress guests — or to treat yourself! Simply add the cooked pasta right into the sauce, with Epstein suggesting you give it a quick sauté before serving up bowls of the fresh meal. Garnish each serving with additional grated cheese if you'd like. 

We asked Epstein about leftovers, and as she explained, "This dish is never quite as good as it is right out of the frying pan." Still, she advises home cooks that if you want to prep the meal ahead of time, "You can store the sauce separately in an airtight container and boil up some fresh pasta." She adds you will heat the sauce and "add it to the pasta directly before serving. The sauce should last for five days in the fridge or three months in the freezer."

This Fettuccine Alfredo Recipe Is Easier Than It Looks
5 from 26 ratings
If you have ten minutes and want to serve a cream sauce that will make family think you spent hours in the kitchen, this fettuccine Alfredo recipe is for you.
Prep Time
0
minutes
Cook Time
8
minutes
Servings
6
servings
plated fettuccine Alfredo recipe
Total time: 8 minutes
Ingredients
  • 10 ounces fettuccine pasta
  • 3 tablespoons salted butter
  • 1-¼ cups heavy cream
  • ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ⅛ teaspoon pepper
  • ⅔ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg yolk
Optional Ingredients
  • ¼ teaspoon red wine vinegar
Directions
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the fettuccini in the water according to the package. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Once melted, add the heavy cream, nutmeg, and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally until bubbling.
  2. Add the Parmesan cheese and stir until it's completely melted. Add the egg yolk and stir it in. Allow the sauce to simmer for 5 minutes. Optionally, add the red wine vinegar. Season with salt.
  3. Add the cooked pasta into the sauce and sauté quickly. Serve and enjoy immediately.
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 470
Total Fat 29.7 g
Saturated Fat 18.1 g
Trans Fat 0.2 g
Cholesterol 118.8 mg
Total Carbohydrates 37.3 g
Dietary Fiber 1.5 g
Total Sugars 2.8 g
Sodium 295.8 mg
Protein 13.5 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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