Picture this: Sun-kissed villages, cobblestone alleys, and bustling markets all lead to one destination – the heart and soul of Italian culinary artistry. You start to notice a scent that weaves its way through centuries of tradition, the natural flavors in the air so enticing that it beckons you to sit down at a nearby trattoria, patiently waiting for it to reveal itself – irresistible Alfredo sauce from Rome (and a personal favorite!)
You know the best part about it? It’s extremely easy to make, perfect for an easy dinner idea!
What You Need to Make Italian Ragu Alfredo Sauce
Homemade alfredo sauce is a simple recipe with just a few ingredients – depending on how fancy you want to make it, of course.
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Pinch of ground nutmeg (optional)
- Fresh parsley, chopped, for garnish (optional)
Tip: Add skinless chicken breasts to make a tasty chicken alfredo sauce!
- Dairy-Free Alternatives – Plant-based butter, olive oil, and dairy-free milk (e.g., almond, soy, or coconut).
- Greek Yogurt, low-fat Cream Cheese – A lighter option for creaminess.
- Low-Fat Milk – Use low-fat milk or a milk mix and chicken broth for a lighter sauce.
- Herbs – Basil, parsley, thyme, Italian seasoning, or red pepper flakes
- Fresh garlic – Roasted garlic, garlic powder, or minced shallots
- Heavy Cream – vegan creamers or coconut cream (this makes an extra creamy sauce)
- Cheese – Nutritional yeast extract, Pecorino Romano, or Asiago
- Vegan Additions – Mushrooms, spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, bell peppers, or roasted red peppers
- Gluten-Free Thickener – Rice flour or cornstarch
Don’t be afraid to play around with ingredients!
How to Make Creamy Alfredo Sauce
As promised, this easy recipe is fast and great for the whole family, as the homemade sauce is a great way to get all your nutrients in without needing fancy ingredients.
Step 0: In a large pot, boil water with some salt to cook the fettuccine based on what it says on the package instructions.
Step 1: In a large saucepan or large skillet, melt butter over medium heat.
Tip: If you plan to make chicken alfredo, add it here.
Step 2: Add the minced garlic to the melted butter and sauté for about 1-2 minutes, or until it becomes fragrant – but be careful not to let it brown.
Step 3: Pour in the heavy cream and stir to combine with the butter and garlic – turn it down to medium-low heat. Now, allow the mixture to gently simmer while stirring occasionally.
Step 4: Next, gradually add the grated Parmesan cheese, stirring continuously to melt it into the sauce.
Step 5: Then continue to simmer and stir until the sauce thickens and the cheese is fully incorporated – this should take about 5-7 minutes.
Step 6: Season the Alfredo sauce with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. If desired, add a pinch of ground nutmeg for a hint of warmth and depth in flavor. Adjust the seasoning according to your preference.
Step 7: Let the sauce simmer for a few more minutes to thicken to your liking – just remember that it will continue to thicken and reduce as it cools. (If it gets too thick, just add some pasta water)
Step 8: Lastly, once the sauce reaches your desired consistency, remove it from heat.
Now, immediately serve the Ragu Alfredo sauce over fettuccine or your favorite cooked pasta, such as fettuccine or linguine, and garnish with fresh chopped parsley if desired.
As with every Italian dish, using quality ingredients, especially butter, cream, and Parmigiano, can make a huge difference in flavor.
Other expert tips:
- Room temperature – let the butter and cream come to room temperature before cooking to combine them more smoothly
- Heat – keep the heat at medium-low when you’re making the sauce, as the heat can cause the sauce to curdle or separate (not good) – make sure to stir constantly, too! Trying to make it go faster with medium-high heat is tempting but will make it boil and separate.
- Seasoning – taste the sauce before adding salt, as parmesan cheese is naturally salty, so be careful not to oversalt
- Garlic – if you’re using fresh garlic, sauté it gently in the butter – but don’t let it brown otherwise, it’ll be bitter
What to Serve Alfredo Sauce With
Alfredo sauce is so versatile you can virtually combine it with any meat or form of protein, and it’ll still taste absolutely amazing.
Here are some options (also Italian classics)
- Fettuccine Alfredo – Sauce coats wide, flat fettuccine noodles. Top with grated Parmesan and freshly ground black pepper.
- Chicken Alfredo – Sautéed or grilled chicken breast slices over pasta or veggies
- Shrimp Alfredo Pasta – Tender shrimp is great either over pasta or risotto
- Broccoli Alfredo – Steam or blanch broccoli florets and mix them into the sauce
- Mushroom Alfredo or Spinach Alfredo – Great vegetarian option for a vibrant green and nutritional touch!
- White Wine – Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, or Sauvignon Blanc
- Sparkling Wine – A glass of sparkling wine or champagne adds an elegant touch
- Light Beer – A light lager or pilsner can be a good match, especially with chicken or seafood Alfredo.
- Mineral Water – Sparkling or still mineral water with a twist of lemon or lime
- Citrus-Infused Water – Create your own infused water with slices of lemon, lime, or orange
- Iced Tea – Black, green, or herbal, provides a pleasant contrast
- Cocktails – Lemon Drop Martini, a Gin and Tonic, or a classic Mojito with a splash of citrus for a refreshing contrast
As you can see, it’s really an amazing sauce!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Do you have questions? Good! We’ve got the answers!
What pasta works best with Alfredo sauce?
Fettuccine is the classic choice, but other flat or broad noodles like linguine, pappardelle, or even penne work well.
What’s the best way to reheat Alfredo sauce without it separating?
This one’s a bit tricky, but to enjoy it a second time, reheat Alfredo sauce gently over low heat, stirring continuously (yes, the entire time) – If it’s too thick, add a bit of reserved pasta water (if available), cream, or milk while reheating.
Can I make a vegan or dairy-free Alfredo sauce?
Yes! You can use dairy-free alternatives like vegan butter, almond milk, and nutritional yeast to make a dairy-free Alfredo sauce.
Can I freeze Alfredo sauce?
Yes, you can freeze Alfredo sauce in a freezer-safe container (really, as long as it’s an air-tight container, you’re good) for up to 3 months. When you want to eat it again, just thaw it in the refrigerator and reheat it on the stovetop, adding cream if necessary.Print