Authentic Italian Fettuccine Alfredo Recipe

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This Authentic Italian Fettuccine Alfredo Recipe has four simple ingredients (fettuccine pasta, parmigiano cheese, butter, and optional freshly cracked pepper). It only takes 15 minutes to prepare! This is the original recipe for ‘fettuccine al burro‘.

More Italian pasta dishes you will love- Cacio e Pepe, Authentic Carbonara, Spaghetti al Limone, Amatriciana Sauce, and Classic Pasta Puttanesca.

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Growing up, and to this day, we called this dish ‘pasta al burro e Parmigiano,’ or butter and cheese pasta. This version is a bit more glorious as we add more butter and cheese to make the sauce extra creamy.

Authentic Fettuccine Alfredo Recipe Without Heavy Cream

The secret to avoiding heavy cream and achieving a super creamy sauce is using starchy pasta water to bind the sauce with the hot pasta. The other secret is the simple process and method of how this creamy sauce is prepared. Following instructions and steps correctly is key for optimal results in this simple pasta dish.

This is ‘il vero Alfredo’, the original recipe for this creamy, rich sauce made without heavy cream. In Italy, we don’t use the name “Fettuccine Alfredo,” and you won’t find it on any Italian restaurant menu except for a few restaurants in Rome that serve the original recipe from Alfredo’s Restaurant.

Simple Ingredients

Since there are only four ingredients in the authentic recipe, it makes a difference to have high-quality ingredients for a creamy sauce. It’s all about that perfect cheese sauce, so use authentic parmigiano cheese- it will make all the difference.

  • Freshly grated cheese- parmigiano cheese (not American parmesan cheese). See heading Pamigiano vs Parmsean for more explanation on this).
  • Butter- Good quality European Style Salted Butter
  • Pasta – you can use fresh fettuccine pasta, dry pasta, linguine, or homemade pasta (fresh egg pasta).
  • Freshly ground Black Pepper (optional- I don’t use it)
  • Salt – for cooking the pasta (How Long to Boil Spaghetti (pasta)- Perfect Every Time)
  • Reserved pasta water

See the recipe card for quantities.

How to Make Authentic Italian Fettucine Alfredo Recipe

This easy butter and cheese pasta comes together in 15 minutes and with only a few ingredients. Pay attention to the process for the creamiest sauce.

Divide the butter into six equal pieces. Add half of the butter to a large serving platter. 

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the fettuccine until al dente according to package directions. Save 1 cup of the starchy pasta water before staining. 
Add half the pasta water (1/2 cup) to the serving platter with the butter. Stir the butter with the hot pasta water to melt the butter.

Add the hot pasta to the serving platter. Using kitchen tongs, mix the until butter sauce coats all the strands of pasta.
Add the rest of the butter and pasta water. Mix the pasta with the kitchen tongs until a smooth, creamy sauce forms.

Keep moving the pasta until all the butter melts. 
Add the freshly grated parmigiano cheese and mix to combine. 
Top with extra parmigiano cheese and freshly grated pepper- if desired. 

Origin of Italian Fettucine Alfredo Recipe

Where does this famous dish originate? This is how the story goes… Fettuccine Alfredo originated in Rome by restaurant owner- Alfredo di Lelio. He created this dish for his pregnant wife, Ines, who was expecting their third child. She craved a rich, simple pasta dish that would comfort and give her energy. Alfredo succeeded with this easy recipe!

What isn’t in Authentic Fettuccine Alfredo Recipe

There are many versions of the classic Italian Fettuccine Alfredo Recipe. You can even find this classic at the Olive Garden (that isn’t authentic ;)). Here is what you won’t find in this easy homemade pasta sauce.

Variations on the Classic Alfredo Recipe

The popular North American version of this authentic fettuccine Alefredo recipe may include some of these ingredients. Although they aren’t traditional, you can make different versions based on your preference.

  • Garlic
  • Olive Oil
  • Heavy Cream (surprise!)
  • Cream Cheese
  • Milk
  • Broccoli
  • Grilled Chicken (chicken alfredo)
  • Fresh Pasley
  • Heavy Cream
  • Garlic bread on the side
  • Shrimp
  • Cajun Seasoning

Difference between Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese and Parmesan Cheese

Parmigiano Reggiano cheese is authentic or DOP (Denominazione di Origine Protetta, which means Protected Designation of Origin), and the American version, Parmesan cheese, is not the authentic Parmigiano Reggiano from Italy.

Parmigiano Reggiano is guaranteed to be made in Italy with a particular process of aging and other restrictions that make it pure. Parmesan can be made anywhere; there are no restrictions on using Parmesan. The less expensive variation of DOP choice is Parmigiano Grana Padano.

Use a high-quality cheese grater. I like using a rotary (handheld with a turning handle) to grate hard cheese.

Cheese- grater

Tools for Grating Parmigiano Cheese

These are 2 Cheese Graters I recommend for cheeses such as parmigiano and pecorino. They also work with soft cheeses such as mozzarella and cheddar:

1- Professional Grade Rotary Grater

2- Commercial Stainless Steel Rotary Cheese Grater

3- You can also use a Microplane for a super fine grate.

Storage Containers for Grated Cheese

These are the air-tight container I recommend for storing parmigiano and other hard cheeses:

1- TightPac America canister I keep this in the fridge. The cheese is good for at least a month. It usually doesn’t last that long in our house since we use parmigiano on everything!

2- Regular Mouth Glass Mason Jars, 16-ounce (5 Pack) Glass Canning Jars

3- Shredded cheese freezes well, especially in these reusable bags: Stasher 100% Silicone Food Grade Reusable Storage Bag.

Freshly ground parmesan cheese can be kept in a plastic bag or airtight container and stored in the fridge for up to two weeks. You can also store it in the freezer for up to 18 months.

How to Store and Reheat

I doubt there will be leftovers, but just in case, here is how to store and reheat your fettuccine Alfredo pasta. Let pasta cool slightly and store in an airtight container in the fridge.

Reheat the leftover on the stovetop. Add a little water and extra parmigiano cheese, and heat on medium heat until heated. Enjoy!

What to Serve with Authentic Italian Fettuccine Alfredo Recipe

Pasta al burro e parmigiano may be served alone, as a primo piatto (first course), as a side dish with fish, or with a meat dish. I love

Top tips

  • Cook Pasta Perfectly. Salt the water to flavor the pasta from the inside out. Only cook until al dente. Read:  How Long to Boil Spaghetti Pasta Perfectly Every Time
  • Grate your cheese with a cheese grater or a Microplane, and use real Parmigiano cheese from the block for the creamiest result. The FINER the grate, the more smooth your sauce will be since it will melt faster with the pasta water and hot pasta. If you like a little more texture, use a coarser grate. Decide based on preference. TOP 5 Reasons Why You Should Grate Your Own Cheese.
  • Do NOT use imitation parmigiano cheeses, or your sauce will be clumpy.
  • Reserve Pasta Water. Save a cup of the pasta water to make the sauce extra creamy without using cream.
  • Serve immediately, so the sauce is smooth and creamy.

FAQs

How to pronounce fettuccine in Italian

The correct pronunciation for fettuccine pasta is (fe-too-CHEEN-eh; “little ribbons”. They are similar to linguine but thicker and wider.

Is Fettuccine Alfredo really Italian?

Yes! Fettuccine Alfredo does originate from Rome, Italy, and was created by Alfredo Di Lelio. His version was a light butter and parmigiano cheese pasta. Many versions of this classic Italian dish are not Italian at all but still popular variations of the famous pasta dish.

How to make Fettuccine Alfredo creamy without heavy cream

The creamy sauce in Fettuccine Alfredo without cream comes from mixing the finely grated Parmigiano cheese with the butter, reserved pasta water, and hot pasta. The creamy sauce will form by incorporating the ingredients in the way this recipe details. Enoy!

What is Fettuccine Alfredo?

Fettuccine Alfredo is a simple Italian dish of butter, parmigiano, fettuccine pasta, and black pepper. The authentic recipe does not use heavy cream. I think of it as a glorified butter and cheese pasta with a triple dose of butter. Enjoy this original fettuccine Alfredo recipe! It is truly the best.

How Is Fettuccine Alfredo famous in North America?

In 1927 Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks were on their honeymoon and ate at Alfredo di Lelio’s restaurant in Rome, Italy. They loved his ‘Fettuccine Alfredo Recipe’ so much that when they returned to the United States, they spread the word about this amazing Italian pasta dish. In 1966, the Pennsylvania Dutch Noodle Company started advertising their “Fettuccine Egg Noodles.”
Their recipe included heavy cream and other cheeses, parmesan, and butter. I prefer the original and much lighter Italian version like this recipe!

Make sure to leave a ⭐️star rating on the recipe card and comment below if you make the recipe. I love to connect with you through my recipes.

I would love for you to tag me on Instagram @cucinabyelena so I can see your delicious Italian recipes. To get more ideas, follow me on Pinterest.

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Authentic Italian Fettuccine Alfredo Recipe

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5 from 9 reviews

This Authentic Italian Fettucine Alfredo Recipe is made with four simple ingredients (fettuccine pasta, parmigiano cheese, butter, and freshly cracked pepper). It only takes 20 minutes to prepare! This is the original recipe for ‘fettuccine al burro‘.

  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 46 servings 1x

Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 1 lb (454 gr) Fettuccine pasta
  • 1 1/2 cups ( gr)fresh finely* grated parmigiano Cheese (divided), more for serving
  • 1/2 cup (113gr) good quality grass feed butter (divided) at room temperature
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste (optional)

Instructions

  1. Divide the butter into six equal pieces. Add half of the butter to a large serving platter. 
  2. In a large pot of boiling salted water cook the fettuccine until al dente according to package directions. Save 1 cup of the starchy pasta water before staining. 
  3. Add half the pasta water (1/2 cup) to the serving platter with the butter. Stir the butter with the hot pasta water to melt the butter. Add the hot pasta to the serving platter. Using kitchen tongs, mix the until butter sauce coats all the strands of pasta.
  4. Add the rest of the butter and pasta water. Mix the pasta with the kitchen tongs until a smooth, creamy sauce forms. Keep moving the pasta until all the butter melts. 
  5. Add the freshly grated parmigiano cheese and mix to combine. 
  6. Top with extra parmigiano cheese and freshly grated pepper- if desired. 

Notes

  • Cook Pasta Perfectly. Salt the water to flavor the pasta from the inside out. Only cook until al dente. Read:  How Long to Boil Spaghetti Pasta Perfectly Every Time
  • Grate your cheese with a cheese grater or a Microplane, and use real Parmigiano cheese from the block for the creamiest result. The FINER the grate, the more smooth your sauce will be since it will melt faster with the pasta water and hot pasta. If you like a little more texture, use a coarser grate. Decide based on preference. 
  • TOP 5 Reasons Why You Should Grate Your Own Cheese.
  • Do NOT use imitation parmigiano cheeses, or your sauce will be clumpy.
  • Reserve Pasta Water. Save a cup of the pasta water to make the sauce extra creamy without using cream.
  • Serve immediately, so the sauce is smooth and creamy.

 

I doubt there will be leftovers, but just in case, here is how to store and reheat your fettuccine Alfredo pasta. Let pasta cool slightly and store in an airtight container in the fridge.

Reheat the leftover on the stovetop. Add a little water and extra parmigiano cheese, and heat on medium heat until heated. Enjoy!

  • Author: Elena
  • Prep Time: 5 min
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Category: Savory
  • Method: Italian
  • Cuisine: Italian

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About Elena

My dream is to share delicious wholesome recipes that you will share around the table with all your loved ones. The memories surrounded by food are the heart and soul of CucinaByElena.

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19 Comments

  1. This was SO good! I was skeptical of how much the sauce would thicken up, but as soon as the parmigiano hit the bowl it turned into a perfectly thick and creamy sauce. Mixed in some roasted chicken and broccoli to round out the meal and it checked all the boxes. Thanks for another winner!






  2. We had this tonight and it was so good! My picky teenager was worried about the idea of a new Alfredo recipe, but everyone loved it.






  3. I immediately made this for lunch this afternoon after watching Elena make it on Instagram. It was so good and I’ll be making it to share with friends and family all summer.






  4. I prepared this tonight for me and my mom. It was delicious. My mom is very picky and she ate the whole plate. I added some shrimp for some protein so that my blood sugar would not skyrocket. Thanks for the wonderful recipe.






  5. Another simple and delicious pasta dish. It quickly comes together and can be dressed up, or left perfect as is. I can’t wait to try more of Elena’s recipes.






    1. Hi Rae, I’m thrilled you loved this simple recipe. We love it with our Italian breaded chicken recipe as a second course. Yumm!

  6. The BEST butter and cheese pasta- the ‘real’ Fettuccine Alfredo recipe. This method provides the creamiest pasta without cream. Delcious!