Fettucine Alfredo That Won’t Kill You

Posted by Stephanie Meyer on May 31, 2010 at 7:21am

My son is a big fettucine alfredo fan. Restaurant versions are terrifyingly caloric, unnecessarily soaked in cups of cream and cheese, some even enriched with egg yolks. I’ve come up with a not-so-over-the-top version for him that I actually prefer. I use real cream, but not too much. A little goes a long way.

Nathan likes his as pictured, but if I were making this for myself I’d saute a handful or two of spinach leaves with the garlic. Or a handful of peas would be pretty too (and a bit of diced ham? That’s a classic, for good reason, yum.) Fresh herbs are always a delicious finish, or a pinch of truffle salt. Lots of options, all good.

Nathan’s Fettucine Alfredo
Serves 2-4

1/2 lb. dried fettucine (or spaghetti, good with cappelini too)
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 c. heavy cream
1/4 c. Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
freshly ground black pepper

Cook pasta in salted water according to package instructions. While the pasta cooks, heat a small skillet over medium-low heat. Add olive oil, then garlic, and gently saute until garlic is tender and about to brown at the edges (do not fully brown the garlic, it will be bitter). Stir in the cream and a generous sprinkle of salt. Simmer for 1-2 minutes, stirring a few times, then remove from heat and set aside. When pasta is done, before draining it, remove 1/3 c. of the pasta cooking water. Drain the pasta, return it to the pot, and add the cream, Parmesan cheese, pasta cooking water, a sprinkle of salt, and a few grinds of black pepper. Toss until sauce is creamy and pasta is coated. Serve immediately.

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Older Comments

  1. By Yumm :) on August 23, 2010 at 10:23AM

    Anonymous needs to shut up, point proven , if you don't like it then don't eat it.

  2. By sidthecat on June 24, 2010 at 7:41PM

    Fettuccine Alfredo has gotten very far afield from the original method in this land of ours: if you really want to make it correctly, source some Cipriani taglioline (as close as you're going to get with a dried pasta - a great product) cook it for a couple minutes and toss it thoroughly with a couple tablespoons of the best butter you can find and about an ounce of the best Parmigiano you can find. Add a little pepper and serve at once.
    That's it. Accept no substitutes.

  3. By SML on June 17, 2010 at 8:38AM

    I love your ingenuity ladies! Keep me posted...

  4. By pixiedusk on June 17, 2010 at 8:24AM

    simple enough to someone who never cooks.... like errrr ME!

  5. By roseate on June 14, 2010 at 7:08PM

    I use fat-free evaporated milk in place of the cream in sauces like this one, too. It doesn't taste quite the same, but it is still delicious. I haven't tried, but I bet you could partially replace the cream with evaporated milk for a sauce that's lighter than the original but that still has some of the creamy taste.

  6. By dewakasih on June 14, 2010 at 2:20PM

    I'll try both fat free evaporated milk and the cream version. I adore simple recipes that's delish.
    SML, you have a lovely website, btw.

  7. By redchick152 on June 14, 2010 at 8:49AM

    holy crap...that's easy! i will definitely try it and add in lots of veggies.

  8. By Anonymous on June 14, 2010 at 8:43AM

    For even lighter, use fat free evaporated milk in the place of heavy cream. You won't taste the difference, but the health benefits are far greater.

  9. By SML on June 13, 2010 at 7:16AM

    Oh good nevaeh, I hope you like it. It's a great technique, works really well with just olive oil and garlic too (vs. cream and garlic). We add a pinch of red pepper flakes to either version, adds some nice heat (saute briefly with the garlic). The key is the pasta cooking water, a great way to stretch the more caloric ingredients (cream, olive oil, or butter, whatever you like) into a "sauce." Mess around with it, it's fun.

  10. By nevaeh1978 on June 13, 2010 at 1:19AM

    I'm going to try and make it! I've never made one before, and it's been years since I ate one, and thank you so much SML for sharing the lighter version, and it seems so simple and good :drool:

  11. By SML on June 12, 2010 at 10:04AM

    Thanks for the comments everyone, and thanks to YumSugar for the link! Her link now says "healthier" vs. "healthy" for anyone who was confused. In the end it's just tasty and I agree completely - all things in moderation (especially if not loaded with preservatives/artificial ingredients).

  12. By Anonymous on June 12, 2010 at 1:08AM

    I have only eaten Alfredo once. I was in high at the time, and I swear I felt my heart slow down as I ate it. I haven't touched the stuff since.

  13. By Anonymous on June 11, 2010 at 11:14PM

    For the record, this is no more caloric than a standard meat sauce. Also, it's made from fresh ingredients that are not loaded with preservatives and/or artificial flavourings and colourings. It's not something that I would have often but richness has it's place too and i'd rather eat this than the garbage they serve at chain and fast food restaurants. Try going for a walk after dinner (with the kids) and you'll see that you can indulge every now and again. Everything in moderation, people!

  14. By SML on June 11, 2010 at 4:31PM

    Only if you link through YumSugar because that's how she titled her post. If you go directly to www.freshtart.net, you'll see my title, Fettucine-Alfredo-Wont-Kill-You.

  15. By Anonymous on June 11, 2010 at 3:42PM

    It does say "Healthy Fettucine Alfredo" in the page title that shows up in the browser bar or tab. (That's your tag in HTML.)

  16. By SML on June 11, 2010 at 3:39PM

    Ah ha, I get it now - it's a link in from YumSugar, who titled it "healthy." Sorry for the confusion! (And thanks to YumSugar for linking to my post - love that!) My own title/copy doesn't say healthy, don't mean to mislead anyone! Serving 4 people would mean about 2 Tbsp. of cream/serving, about the same as a large dollop of whipped cream (200 cals). Maybe not healthy, but not disastrous either, at least in Alfredo terms. Enjoy a small serving and savor it! Fill it out with spinach or other veggies, call it dinner.

  17. By SML on June 11, 2010 at 3:28PM

    Wait, I'm confused - where does it say healthy? My title is "Fettucine Alredo That Won't Kill You" - could it be there's a link to the post appearing somewhere else? Let me know what you're seeing (esp if it's from another site/Twitter/wherever)...thanks for letting me know and sorry!

    Fuzzles - niiice :)

  18. By MelW on June 11, 2010 at 3:09PM

    Hate to be a spoil sport, but the word "healthy" IS in the title of this page, so you did, in essence claim it was so.

  19. By fuzzles on June 11, 2010 at 2:43PM

    I'm adding bacon to mine!

  20. By SML on June 11, 2010 at 1:02PM

    I didn't say healthy - just not as heavy as typical alfredo. This recipe is meant to serve four, at about 400 cals/serving. Compared to more than 1,000 cals per usual serving of fettucine alfredo, it's an improvement! But it's still pasta with cream, no getting around that :)

  21. By jwnola on June 11, 2010 at 12:50PM

    The title of this post go me really excited, but when I looked up the calorie and fat content of 1/2 cup of heavy cream, my excitement waned.

    The half cup of heavy cream adds 410 calories and 44g of fat (27g saturated fat) to the recipe. While this may be healthier than most alfredo recipes, I think "healthy" is a stretch.

  22. By Liss on June 11, 2010 at 11:25AM

    that sounds yummy :)

  23. By SML on June 11, 2010 at 11:24AM

    Yes, have tried with whole grain pasta, works well. Even whole grain pasta releases a fair amount of starch into the cooking water, which is what you need to stretch the cream into a sauce. Thanks for the note!

  24. By lekatvt on June 11, 2010 at 11:00AM

    this looks great, have you tried it with whole grain pasta at all?

  25. By SML on June 8, 2010 at 7:31AM

    Great - I hope you like it! It's a fun recipe to play with - you can add whatever vegetables you like.

  26. By Mademoiselle24iL on June 5, 2010 at 1:35PM

    Fabulous recipe I will try it out tonight :)