Oooh dear friends, do I have an amazing recipe for you! This is one that I found long ago and was absolutely amazed with how delicious it was. It reminds me of a restaurant style Alfredo sauce and is just so so SO good! It took me some time to figure out all the most important details of this recipe (i.e. ONLY COOK THE SAUCE FOR 1 MINUTE!!)
I actually made this recipe for a good friend right after her second child was born. This dish was chosen upon suggestion of my husband (since it was SO amazing the first time we made it!). The problem was, that I had only made it ONE TIME and didn’t realize the huge importance of ONLY COOKING THE SAUCE FOR 1-MINUTE!! Needless to say, the sauce became very thick and not nice and creamy like it should be. Ahh! I still cringe at the thought of that meal (I’m so sorry friend!!) But now after making it upwards of 20+ times (because that’s how much we love it), I feel pretty confident in sharing with you the most important things to be aware of in this recipe. And in reality, they’re not difficult at all-just things to keep in mind so that all things work together to create that amazingly rich and creamy Alfredo sauce we all know and love (well, most of us anyways-I’m talking to you Sis! ;).
After learning this lesson I realized why high-end restaurants actually have a “Saucier”-you know, someone who’s only job is to make the sauce (I only know this because I had a friend who was one). Because making the sauce perfectly can be a challenge at times! Temperamental? Yes, Sauce I’m describing you.
Now, the type of noodles that you use here can make a difference in how they seem to soak up the sauce. I love any kind of curly noodle, especially rotini or fusilloni, but of course fettuccine noodles will work along with bow tie noodles. We have even used elbow noodles when we’ve really wanted Alfredo but have been out of other types of noodles. The flatter noodles don’t soak up the sauce as much so it feels like you’ve got extra to spare, whereas the noodles that are curly seem to leave less sauce (although, technically, it’s the same amount of sauce).
This recipe is great with or without meat. You can add chicken or shrimp (both of which are my favorite). I’ve always been a meat lover, however with my third pregnancy, for some odd reason, meat was the last thing I wanted on my plate, but Alfredo pasta sounded divine! So I made this recipe many [many] times without any meat, and added a salad and garlic bread to spruce things up. 😉
A few helpful hints, that I’ll include in the recipe section as well:
Make sure to have all of your ingredients chopped, measured and ready to go-because you will be working quickly once everything starts moving.
This includes having the pasta cooked and ready before you start your sauce-or having it within a few minutes of being done.
Don’t forget to reserve some pasta water (I forgot this ALL the time in the beginning, but my husband said he could tell a difference (meaning it tasted better) with the pasta water verses regular [non-pasta] water.
Don’t over do it on the onions-because you will definitely taste them! My husband actually likes about half the amount of onions in this (making it a scant 1-Tablespoon of onions), I like it with the full amount (2 Tablespoons). But be careful not to throw in 1/2 an onion or more if that’s what you’re used to doing because-believe me, I’ve done that before too. It was ONION-Y to say the least!
And the most important part-(if you didn’t read my earlier rant), is to ONLY COOK THE SAUCE FOR 1-MINUTE and then pull it off the heat. Otherwise it will continue to cook and thicken. It will thicken regardless as it cools-so you want to leave some room for it to thicken without it getting too thick-if that makes sense. I had another unfortunate over-thickening experience with the sauce when making this meal for my in-laws-(“Oh why, oh why??” Where my thoughts during the remainder of THAT meal). So I’m telling ya folks! ONLY 1-MINUTE!! Hopefully I have emphasized that point enough. Enjoy! 😉
- 1/2 to 1lb of pasta (See notes below)*
- 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter (although I will often use salted butter and it still tastes great-even without reducing the salt!)
- 2 Tablespoons minced onions (Don't over do this or you'll taste it for sure!)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced (or 1 teaspoon of minced garlic)
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan Cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (I like using sea salt or real salt)
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 cup of cooked chicken, diced or shredded, or cooked shrimp, tails removed (meat is optional)
- Additional parmesan cheese or dried parsley to garnish (optional)
- Cook pasta, reserve 1/4 cup pasta water, set aside cooked pasta and pasta water.
- Melt butter over medium heat in sauce pan. Add onion and garlic. Saute until tender.
- Add 1 cup heavy cream, salt and pepper, and bring to a boil. Once the cream begins to boil START TIMING IT FOR 1-MINUTE, THEN REMOVE FROM HEAT.
- Immediately combine the cream with the pasta noodles, the 1/4 cup of pasta water, and the parmesan cheese. If adding chicken or shrimp, add it at this time as well (make sure it's already been warmed up). Stir together and serve immediately.
- Garnish with additional parmesan cheese or dried parsley.
- *I like using 1/2lb of pasta because it leaves more sauce, but you can make this with a full pound as well. I will often make a double batch of the sauce and then use 1lb of pasta so that it leaves extra for leftovers.