When I say Alfredo sauce, do you think of a creamy pasta sauce? What if I told you that a traditional Alfredo sauce is made without cream? That's right —this simple pasta sauce becomes creamy and dreamy with only 2 ingredients! Crazy, right? This is one authentic Alfredo sauce that can be on the table in less than 20 minutes!
The best thing about family recipes is how they get passed down from generation to generation. Heck, it's why Josie + Nina even exists. This traditional Alfredo recipe is no different. When Alfredo Di Lelio, the originator of the recipe, created this easy pasta sauce, he didn't make it with cream in it, but today, Alfredo sauce is commonly made as a butter and cream sauce!
Allow me to introduce you to the authentic Alfredo sauce made in the way Alfredo intended...
...my friend, are you gonna love that there's only 2 ingredients!
What you'll need for traditional Alfredo sauce
Thatsa lotta butter!
Traditional Alfredo sauce starts with butter. One cup of butter to be exact. This isn't the time to cut back or find a substitute. When a recipe has only 2 ingredients, you go for broke.
Grated Romano cheese
Yep, we are hand grating (or use your food processor grater attachment) the cheese. And —we are using Romano instead of Parmesan for its sharp bite and fluffy texture.
Cooking pasta al dente is required—just ask my grandmas. Alfredo sauce just glides down fettuccine as you twist it up on your fork. And its creaminess seals the deal making it easy to eat.
♥️ Advice from the grandmas ♥️
Please...don't use pre-grated or shredded cheese for Alfredo sauce. It'll affect the creaminess of the sauce!-Josie + Nina
Kitchen tips for the best Italian Alfredo sauce
How to make Alfredo sauce without cream
- Heat large skillet with sides over medium heat and add the butter stirring until it's melted and foamy
- Add the cheese to the skillet and using a whisk, stir the whole time until creamy
- Add ¼ cup of pasta water and contine whisking until mixed in. Don't panic if you see some trails of cheese in the butter and pasta water. It will come together!
- Using tongs, add the fettuccine into the skillet tossing to coat with the sauce. Add more pasta water in ¼ cup increments as needed. That's it!
What other pasta shapes are good with Alfredo sauce?
Alfredo sauce is a clingy kind of pasta sauce and that is meant in the best way! Here are some great pasta shapes that will hug the creaminess Alfredo has:
- Cavatappi. It shows off its curves and turns in this viral baked pasta with goat cheese.
- Bow tie pasta. One of our favorite dressy pasta shapes. Bow tie pasta has great folds to hold sauce like in this creamy bow tie recipe.
- Rigatoni. Any tube pasta like rigatoni can hold a lot of butter and cheese sauce!
Help! I accidentally threw the pasta water down the drain!
Relax! All is not lost!
Yes, pasta water has an important job in homemade alfredo which is to help emulsify the sauce, thickening and making it creamy at the same time. But...you have options.
Here's what you'll do:
Add about ¼ teaspoon of water to a cup of boiling water. Tada! You have now created the same thickening properties of pasta water!
Storage and reheating
Reheat tips. To reheat traditional alfredo sauce, heat in a saucepan over low heat, stirring with a wire whisk. Add a little more butter to loosen things up.
Reserve some additional pasta water in an airtight container and add along with a little butter to loosen up and reheat any leftovers.
- Garnish with Fresh Herbs: A sprinkle of fresh parsley or basil can brighten up the dish and add a burst of color.
- Serve Immediately: Alfredo sauce is best enjoyed right after it's made. It tends to thicken as it cools, so serve promptly for the creamiest experience.
- Leftovers: If you have leftover sauce, store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Reheat it gently and add a splash of milk or cream when reheating to restore its creamy texture.
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No Cream Traditional Alfredo Sauce
- 1 ½ cups grated romano cheese
- 1 cup butter, 2 sticks
- ½ lb fettuccine, cooked with i cup of pasta water reserved and kept warm
- kosher salt/pepper
- In a large skillet (10-12”) with sides, heat the butter until melted. Stir in the romano cheese a little bit at a time stirring to make a cheese sauce. Add in pasta water ¼ cup at a time, stirring the whole time so that it's creamy. Keep stirring and mixing over medium low heat until a creamy sauce forms.1 cup butter, 1 ½ cups grated romano cheese
- Toss in hot drained fettuccine, tossing to coat with the sauce. Add more pasta water as needed. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with more romano.½ lb fettuccine, kosher salt/pepper