Alfredo is about as simple (and rich) as a cream sauce can get. It takes less than ten minutes from start to end.
The original recipe for Alfredo sauce called for butter, Parmesan cheese, and some of the starchy water that was used to cook the pasta, but nowadays nearly everyone uses cream instead.
You can make a great Alfredo with just butter, cream, and Parmesan, or add a bit of additional seasoning as described below:
- Melt a stick of butter in a sauce pan over medium heat.
- Optionally, add a crushed clove of garlic, a bit of ground black pepper (you can use white pepper if you want to avoid little flecks of black in your sauce), or other aromatic seasonings and sauté them in the butter for about a minute until fragrant.
- Stir in a pint of cream and bring to a very gentle simmer for a few minutes. (Do not let it boil.)
- Add between one and two cups of grated Parmesan cheese and stir until it’s melted in to the sauce. (The cheese is key here, so buy a block of nice Parmesan and grate it yourself.)
- Optionally season with a little salt (I generally find that the Parmesan provides enough salt for my taste, but a bit more wouldn’t hurt), sprinkle with a handful of finely-chopped parsley, maybe dust with a little grated nutmeg.
- Toss with noodles and serve immediately.
This recipe makes enough for one pound of dried pasta, or you can use it as a sauce for meat, vegetables, or any other dish where you want a bit of decadent creamy cheese flavor.
This sauce does not reheat well, so there’s no point in making it ahead of time or doubling the recipe to have leftovers.