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May 14, 2009 05:56 AM

Alfredo Sauce Help

Looking for a good homemade Alfredo sauce that is easy to make (preferably one pot or pan). I've attempted to make Alfredo sauce before but it came out kind of.. blah. Anyone have recipes that kick it up a bit? I wouldn't mind red pepper flakes or more herbs or something... Also, can anyone provide one that uses half and half as I'd love to cut some of the fat out (I know, I know, it's Alfredo...).

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  1. You can use half & half instead of heavy cream in any Alfredo sauce. It'll be somewhat thinner in consistency and not as rich as the heavy cream variety but it will work.
    A "blah" Alfredo sauce might mean you used a "blah" Parmesan cheese; make sure the cheese you use is fresh (not that stuff in a can) and of high quality. The quality of the wine and the butter is also important to the flavor factor. It is, after all, nothing but olive oil, cream, butter, garlic and white wine with a dash of S&P.
    I've added red pepper flakes to some of my white sauces, never to Alfredo sauce. But if you like that spiciness there's no reason you couldn't use it. You might also want to use a bit of oregano or basil; that's up to you. Yuo might also consider adding a few capers or chopped calamata olives
    Now that we've broken all the rules for a "true" Alfredo sauce, have a look at this video:
    it may help you in your decisions about what you might like to try.

    1. Alfredo isn't a sauce you make in a pan. You dress the fettuccine directly in the serving bowl, and the only kick it needs is the best unsalted butter and freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano you can find. The better your butter and cheese (and pasta), the better the dish. There is NO cream, NO olive oil, and absolutely NO garlic or red pepper or other ingredients. Red pepper, olives, garlic, capers belong with oil-based sauces, not butter and parmigiano. If you think just butter and cheese makes a dull dish, I beg you to try it with the best ingredients. It's an eye-opener. If you still want to add these extraneous ingredients, then don't call the dish Alfredo.

      Here is the recipe from The Food of Rome and Lazio by Oretta Zanini De Vita:

      Fettuccine al triplo burro
      (Fettuccine Alfredo)
      (serves 4)
      350 grams (12.3 oz) egg fettuccine
      150 grams (5.3 oz) very fresh
      soft butter
      100 grams (3.5 oz) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
      Boil the fettuccine in salted water until they are al dente, and put them into a warm bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of the cooking water and mix in the Parmesan cheese. Add the butter in little flakes and mix the pasta until the cheese has melted completely. Serve in very hot dishes.

      2 Replies
      1. re: mbfant

        I 'll second this, butter and good parmesan cheese are all you really need. Though I'm not opposed to adding other things to it, from a small amount of nutmeg to a bit of thyme, black or white pepper. But the most basic is really an eyeopener, and a good one to start with.

        1. re: Botch

          this is good stuff. I zip my butter, parm, and some black pepper around in the food processor to mix it, then toss it with the hot pasta.

      2. I've been making alfredo for quite some time. It's my husbands favorite. Like mbfant said below, alfredo doesn't have olive oil in it. It's cream, butter, a touch of garlic, parm & salt & pepper. I don't have a specific recipe, I cook by sight & taste, but I can tell you that I have made it before with whole milk instead of cream (if you are watching your weight) and it still came out pretty good. Also, I use garlic powder instead of fresh. It only takes a little bit, and I think it's better so that there aren't any "bits" of garlic in it. Alfredo should be very smooth. I normally start with unsalted butter, melted. I add the cream (or milk) next and let it get to a slight boling stage. I then add a small amount of flour, whisking it until it is the consistency of cream sauce. Lastly, the fresh parm (NEVER use the stuff in the green can) and garlic, salt & pepper to taste. Take it completely off of the heat and let the cheese melt. If you leave it on the burner while the cheese is melting, the cheese will possibly burn on the bottom and become lumpy. Hope this helps!

        1. Mac and cheese at its best!
          It's all about the ingredients: fresh pasta, cultured butter, and excellent parm reg.

          Traditional alfredo is made with only butter and parm although it has evolved to incorporate cream at the the finish (if you're going to be bad, be very very bad!). As TLC said, making the dish is more about technique than a recipe.

          - use fresh fettuccine - the fresh dough will meld better with the wet ingedients
          - while the water is coming to a boil, melt some cultured, unsalted butter, warm the cream if using, grate the parm cheese (only parm reg or red cow parm reg), and warm the bowl
          - cook the pasta in salted water until al dente and then drain - leave the pasta fairly wet, the starch will mix with the sauce
          - put in the warm bowl, dress with enough butter to cover the noodles, add the parm until the pasta becomes thick, and then add some cream or butter to thin it again
          - salt and pepper to taste

          Optional, although nontraditional, ingredients: garlic (soften slices in the melted butter and remove before using), parsley, peas, red pepper flakes. Try the traditional method before introducing any of these - just to know how lovely a simple dish can be.

          Slightly off subject, I once had this dish at a restaurant that made it tableside in a halved parm reg wheel that was hollowed at bit like a bowl. Ummmm

          1. We make this dish quite a bit. Really good with simply grilled or broiled meat or poultry. No olive oil in my dish as well. While fetuccine is draining, melt some high quality unsalted butter in the same pot the pasta was cooked in. We use low fat 1/2 and 1/2 as well as high quality, freshly grated Romano cheese (Costco/Sam's are good sources). Dash of kosher salt (be careful, cheese can be salty) and we like freshly grated white pepper. Occasionally, garnish with finely chopped chives or basil (fresh from our garden). We don't add white wine, although I suppose you could.