Skip to Content

The Perfect Alfredo

Last week I mentioned having pasta with alfredo sauce for dinner with our spinach clementine salad. The recipe came from Cook’s Illustrated and was one of the best I’ve had. You know that alfredo sauce that is so rich and thick you can hardly eat it? This was not like that. It had flavor, but the sauce was the perfect not-too-rich-silky-smooth consistency.

I love how Cook’s Illustrated tests to get recipes just right, and often times the difference is in the technique. Hubby even remarked that it was one of the best dinners he’s had in a while. Not that our other dinners aren’t good, but he just really liked this one. Coming from a guy who doesn’t have favorites, that’s big. He particularly liked the salad as well. I thought the sweet, juicy lightness of the salad paired perfectly with the just right richness of the alfredo.

3/4/09 This recipe was added to Life As Mom’s Ultimate Recipe Swap – Pasta

alfredo sauce

Alfredo Sauce with Pasta

Yield: 8 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Alfredo is a classic dish but one that often leaves a heavy feeling. This recipe has tons of flavor, but the sauce was the perfect not-too-rich-silky-smooth consistency.


  • 1 2/3 c half and half*
  • 5 Tbs butter
  • 1 lb. fettuccine, preferably homemade or store-bought fresh**
  • 1 c (2 oz.) fresh grated Parmesan
  • ground black pepper
  • pinch of nutmeg


  1. Bring 4 qts water to a rolling boil in a large pot. Add 1 Tbs salt and the pasta to the water. Stir to separate pasta. Cook pasta until almost al dente.
  2. Combine 1 2/3 c of the half and half and the butter in a saute pan large enough to accommodate the cooked pasta. Heat over low until the butter is melted and the cream comes to a bare simmer.
  3. Turn the heat off and set aside. (I found that this took the length of the time it took the pasta to cook, so I never turned it off and set it aside).
  4. Drain cooked pasta and add it to the saute pan. Add the remaining 1/2 c of cream, Parmesan, pepper, and nutmeg.
  5. Cook on very low heat, tossing to combine the ingredients until sauce is slightly thick, 1-2 minutes. Serve immediately in heated pasta bowls.


Very slightly adapted from Cook's Illustrated

Paraphrased notes from Cook’s Illustrated: Cooking sauce over too high heat for too long results in gluey, rather than creamy, sauce. Lukewarm creams sauces are not good – heating the pasta bowls (I filled with water and microwaved them) is a must. Sauce may look soupy as you divide it into bowls, but the pasta will continue to absorb sauce as it sits. Pasta that looks just right upon serving ends up being too dry by the time you are eating it.

*originally calls for heavy cream
**used bow tie because my 18 month old prefers shaped pasta

Recommended Products

As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Nutrition Information
Yield 8 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 215Total Fat 13gSaturated Fat 8gTrans Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 4gCholesterol 37mgSodium 102mgCarbohydrates 20gFiber 1gSugar 3gProtein 5g offers recipe nutritional information as a courtesy and is an estimate only. This information comes from online calculators. Although makes every effort to provide accurate information, these figures are only estimates.

Did you make this recipe?

I’d love it if you let me know what you think! Snap a photo and tag me on Instagram at @goodlifeeats with the hashtag #goodlifeeatsrecipes so I can see what you’re cooking up in YOUR kitchen!

Hoosier Homemade

Thursday 5th of March 2009

Sounds great! My 11 yo loves Alfredo. Thanks for sharing!

CountryMama@The Cozy Country Home

Thursday 5th of March 2009

I'll have to try this! Sounds great!

Snow White

Thursday 5th of March 2009

looks great! similar to my hubby's recipe -- but the techniques are helpful!


Thursday 5th of March 2009

Hey Monique - I'll take some fettucine, too! ;)Thanks for linking. Looks great, Katie. Yum!


Wednesday 4th of February 2009

Thanks, Monique. Sent you an email to the general address listed on your website. Hope you get it. If not, you can contact me at

Skip to Recipe