Traditional fettuccine alfredo contains no cream, just butter and Parmesan. Using some starchy pasta water, the combination of starch, melted cheese and butter emulsifies to form a creamy coating.
Many versions contain cream, though, especially in the US. In part, I think it's because simple dishes that contain only three ingredients - like fettuccine alfredo - rely on very high quality ingredients. In this case, the butter and cheese are the stars, but high quality, high fat butter isn't easy to find (now it's become easier), so high fat cream is sometimes used to boost the flavor profile.
In theory, with high quality ingredients and good technique, you shouldn't need heavy cream.
Yes, fettuccine with sweet pepper cayenne sauce.
Here are ingredients:
Original recipe makes 4 servings Change Servings
12 ounces dry fettuccine pasta
2 red bell peppers, julienned
3 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup reduced fat sour cream
3/4 cup chicken broth
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.
Meanwhile, spray cooking oil in a large skillet and saute red bell peppers, garlic and cayenne pepper over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes.
Stir in sour cream and broth; simmer uncovered for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cheese.
Toss hot pasta with sauce and season with salt and pepper to taste; serve.