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Alfredo Sauce Help

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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.

            1. I make it in the form of bechamel sauce because almost everyone expects the same saucy consistancy when it comes to "alfredo". I think is is basically a white mac and cheese.

              I melt plenty of good butter, add flour, let it cook a bit (but not brown), add cream or half&half. Bring to almost a boil, turn off fire or dial to lowest, add cheese. toss with hot noodle and a bit of it's water.

              Last mother's day, we had the same dish but with some langosta lobsters (mother's request). i've added some reduced lobster shell stock and white pepper. I'd put in some roasted garlic and chicken on non-fancy days.

              i agree with the cheese, make sure you get decent cheese. it is not too difficult to grate with a box grater. just don't be like me in college: grating it with a cheap paddle grater and cutting my hand.

              1 Reply
              1. re: jeniyo

                There was an interesting article in the latest Saveur about this dish:

              2. I can already see the errors with my attempt, thanks for all the input! :)

                1. A little pinch of nutmeg goes a long ways.

                  1. Does anyone else use shallots (or onion)? Not garlic, I don't think garlic is for alfredo. I think a tiny bit of finely minced shallot gives it that extra depth and freshness. And yes, nutmeg. But only if freshly ground.

                    1. I'll go against most. Sorry to offend anyone. All the recipes are great but not for me. I don't like garlic, I like cream to make it ... hence creamy. So ...

                      I take 3/4 stick of butter. One small container of heavy or light cream and heat on medium for a couple of minutes. Add 1 small package of grated parm about 5 oz from the dairy aisle already grated, Sargento is fine. Melt stirring often, some pepper and put over pasta or chicken or whatever. It is easy full proof, not hard, cheap easy and quick. I can make a more traditional but I think you are looking for something easy for friends and family to love.

                      FYI half and half is fine, a little thinner but still good. After you toss with the pasta, within just a minute or two it will thicken as the cheese cools a bit. Still great flavor.

                      Parsley is the only garnish with black pepper I add.

                      I use this as my catering recipe and for friends and family and it has never failed me. Everyone loves it and it is so easy. 1 pan and just 5 or so minutes.

                      You can use up to 1 stick of butter, but I cut back a little. I use almost a whole lb of pasta, just shy. Depends on how much sauce you want.

                      You can make very traditional with top ingredients but I just don't always have the money or the time. I can grill a chicken breast, make the alfredo and boil the pasta and in 15 minutes, dinner on the table. Not gourmet but fresh, homemade, healthy and quick, a nice salad and beats any take out.

                      Now granted she asked for easy. You can add fresh cream, different grades of parm. But this is easy quick, 5 minutes, simple and great results.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: kchurchill5

                        " Not gourmet but fresh, homemade, healthy and quick..."

                        Healthy? ;)

                      2. We made some great alfredo sauce last week with butter, cream, garlic and parmesan - we froze it but when we went to reheat it it was separated and would not blend together again. Is there any trick to avoid the separation or to bring back together after separation?

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: thegirlwholovestoeat

                          Unfortunately I've never had a lot of success reheating- it always separates at least a little bit. I've tried reheating on the stove, in a double boiler, low heat in the micro...that's just the way it is. One of those things best eaten right away (kind of like fried food). The best so far is reheating slowly until barely warm- once it's hot it's separated. Maybe someone else has an idea? For the frozen entrees bye Stouffer's etc they add a lot of preservatives and binders so it doesn't separate- but those are pretty nasty so I wouldn't recommend that!

                          1. re: thegirlwholovestoeat

                            cream does not freeze successfully for things like this, or most anything except egg dishes.

                            it's such an instant sauce, i can't see the point of freezing. if you're concerned with storing it, make a bechamel which is more stable, although not alfredo.

                            i also will join the traditionalists -- it's excellent butter, very good parm, salt & pepper. that's it. it's supposed to be mild and lush, showcasing the quality of the ingredients. it's not just white mac & cheese.