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5-Minute Fettuccine Alfredo

Fettuccine Alfredo
Cook Time:
5 mins
Prep Time:
5 mins


  • 12 ounces spinach fettuccine, cooked just short of al dente in salted water; reserve 1 cup of pasta water
  • 3/4 cup pecorino cheese, grated, plus more for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • Salt, to taste, if necessary
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for serving
  • cups heavy cream

Chef notes

As with most sauces originating from Italy, the early version of what we call an Alfredo sauce, is not what we Americans are accustomed to. A twist on cacio e pepe (starch water, pecorino and pepper), the authentic-ish version of Alfredo, called fettuccine al burro (with butter) is made with a generous portion of butter melted with Parmesan.

Where the version made with cream originated is not entirely certain. My guess is that, like with carbonara, some American just added a ton of cream to make it even more unhealthy.

Now, while I'll throw a hissy fit if my carbonara is thickened with cream instead of eggs, I like my Alfredo swimming in thick, velvety cream sauce. I would normally reduce the cream for 40 minutes or so to get the right consistency, but I either grew lazier or smarter, and now use a little flour to speed the process. This sauce really does come together in minutes, but unfortunately, I can’t make the pasta cook sooner!

Technique Tip: Use reserved pasta water to control the creaminess of the sauce.

Swap Option: Use Parmigiano-Reggiano instead of pecorino for a twist. Be sure to adjust the seasoning.



In a small bowl, mix the cheese, flour and pepper.


Add the heavy cream to a high-sided skillet and bring to a gentle simmer, over medium-high heat.


Add the cheese mixture and whisk to combine.


Allow the cream to return to a simmer and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.


Season with salt, as needed.


Add the cooked fettuccine to the sauce and toss to combine.


Add reserved pasta water, as needed, until you achieve a creamy, velvety sauce.


Serve immediately with a some grated pecorino and freshly ground pepper.