Alfredo sauce is a creamy sauce made famous in 1914 thanks to the Alfredo restaurant in Rome. The original version of this recipe only had butter and Parmesan cheese. However, nowadays there is also sour cream. Alfredo sauce is a versatile accompaniment to pasta, chicken and many other dishes. Best of all, it takes a few basic ingredients and is ready in minutes!
For a simple Alfredo sauce
- 1 cup of heavy cream.
- 1 bar or 8 tablespoons of butter.
- 2 cups of freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
- Salt and pepper to taste.
- Pasta cooking water (to thin the sauce).
For recipe variations (as per instructions below)
- 1 to 2 cloves of garlic (crushed or chopped).
- ½ lemon zest.
- ½ lemon juice.
- ⅓ cup of white wine.
- 1 cup low-fat plain yogurt.
- Nutmeg (to taste).
Method 1 of 2: Making Basic Alfredo Sauce
Step 1. Melt the butter on the fire
Put the butter in an ordinary pan and light the heat between medium and low. The goal is to let the sauce heat up slowly to create a smooth consistency. Slow cooking over low heat is best, but it takes a little patience.
Step 2. Add the cream and Parmesan cheese
Stir the ingredients without stopping after adding them to prevent them from burning or sticking, until they are well mixed.
- If possible, use freshly grated parmesan. The difference in taste is very noticeable. Furthermore, fresh cheese has less tendency to form hard pellets.
Step 3. Bring the sauce to a boil
Wait for it to open to a light boil and bubble very little. At this point, start to stir carefully until it thickens well, which usually takes about eight minutes.
Don't even think about increasing the fire. If the sauce starts bubbling a lot, turn it down. In addition to burning the ingredients and leaving a bitter aftertaste, high heat can also make the cheese "bumpy". When cheese is heated too quickly, the proteins spiral rather than separate, which also separates the fat from the moisture, forming hard pellets that don't melt at all
Step 4. Add salt and pepper to taste
The sauce can be seasoned when it reaches the desired consistency. Add the spices you prefer, but be aware that just salt and pepper is enough. Stir the sauce to mix the seasoning well.
Just use a few pinches of each spice. If you're afraid to overdo it, add a pinch at a time, stir and experiment. Continue until you get the flavor you want
Step 5. Use the pasta cooking water to dilute the sauce if you like
If you haven't thrown away the water from the pan where you cooked the pasta, you can use it to dilute any sauce that gets too thick. This water picks up some of the flavor of the pasta, giving the sauce a characteristic taste.
If you accidentally add too much water, cook the sauce a little longer to thicken it again
Step 6. Serve
When the sauce tastes exactly the way you like it, it's time to serve. Take a few ladles of the steaming sauce and pour it over your favorite pasta. This recipe makes approximately six servings.
Another option is to use it to add a creamy touch to your favorite meat and vegetable recipes, such as chicken, shrimp, broccoli and more. The mild flavor of Alfredo sauce is very versatile, so there are endless combination options
Method 2 of 2: Varying the recipe
This section presents some ideas to make the above recipe more interesting. You can use any combination of the suggested tricks or do the traditional option yourself. It's your choice!
Step 1. Add some garlic cloves
The spicy and dominant flavor of garlic goes perfectly with this creamy sauce. When melting the butter, add 1 or 2 chopped garlic cloves. Then sauté them in butter for about a minute to bring out the flavor and aroma before adding the other ingredients. It is not necessary to remove the garlic from the sauce to serve.
Step 2. Add add white wine
The sweet and slightly acidic flavor of most white wines gives a refined touch to a basic Alfredo sauce recipe. Gradually add about ⅓ cup before seasoning the sauce with salt and pepper. You may need to cook it a little longer to make it fuller after adding the wine.
Almost all white wines will do. The fresh and slightly acidic taste of Chardonnay, for example, brings even more lightness to the dish. Avoid dessert wines like Muscat as they are too sweet
Step 3. Add a hint of citrus with a little lemon
The sour taste of lemon juice "cuts" the fat in Alfredo sauce. The combination of flavors may seem a little sour, but it makes your mouth water. For this adaptation, just cut 1 lemon in half while waiting for the sauce to start boiling. With the finer side of a grater, grate the lemon rind to get some zest. As soon as the sauce thickens, add the zest and then squeeze out the juice of ½ lemon. Stir well to mix.
You can squeeze the lemon in a sieve so that the buds and seeds don't fall into the sauce
Step 4. Add a dash of nutmeg
Nutmeg may not be the first spice that comes to mind when talking about Alfredo sauce. However, in small amounts, it imparts a pleasant taste and a quality aroma. Add a very small pinch (no more than ¼ teaspoon) when adding Parmesan cheese. If you like the taste, you can add a little more at a time.
Step 5. Use yogurt in place of heavy cream for a less caloric recipe
Alfredo sauce is delicious, but you only need to read the list of ingredients to realize that it contains a lot of calories and fat. How about replacing the heavy cream with an equal amount of your favorite low-fat yogurt or Greek yogurt? The end result is still tasty, but not too heavy.
- Yogurt also adds a "sour" touch to the sauce. Some people prefer this taste.
- Also add 1 tablespoon of all-purpose flour with yogurt. It can carve if exposed to high temperatures, but the flour prevents the problem.
Step 6. Use only butter and cheese to make the traditional recipe
Older versions of the Alfredo sauce have only these two ingredients, without the cream. When melted and combined, they form a homogeneous, golden mixture that covers the entire mass evenly. This version of the sauce is simple but very tasty. If your goal is to make something more traditional, don't add water or other spices suggested above. It is also possible to make more sauce using larger amounts of cheese and butter. Just keep the proportion.
For a more authentic taste, use fresh unsalted butter. Without refrigeration, salt was added to the butter to make it last longer. When someone wanted to prepare a "perfect" recipe, they used unsalted butter, which had to be fresh because it didn't last long
- Other vegetables and spices that go well with Alfredo sauce are basil, sun-dried tomatoes and spinach.
- Don't forget to stir always. Without this, the ingredients stick to the pan and the sauce can have a bitter and unpleasant taste.
- Can't let go of the tomato? Try adding the red sauce to the Alfredo sauce (making a rosé sauce) in equal measures. You can use a ready-made sauce or prepare a fresh homemade version – it's up to you.