There are few things as comforting in terms of food for me than a big bowl of pasta swimming in alfredo sauce.
The delicate, creamy sauce is so versatile it can be topped with pretty much any protein like in chicken alfredo or sausage alfredo pasta. I even use it to make french bread pizza and sausage stuffed mushrooms.
While it’s easy enough to pop open a jar of store bought alfredo sauce, I prefer to make my own. It’s fairly inexpensive and using fresh ingredients results in a far more satisfying sauce.
This alfredo sauce recipe has heavy cream – make sure to use that and avoid substitutions so that you can create a rich, creamy sauce. While you can use packaged shredded parmesan, your sauce will be far more flavorful if you grate a block of the cheese just prior to cooking.
What is Alfredo Sauce?
You may have already figured out that alfredo sauce has Italian roots. It was first served in Rome in the early 1900’s when chef and restaurant owner Alfredo di Lelio featured his fettuccine alfredo on his menu. Legend has it, however, that his real reason for first making the sauce was his wife, Ines.
Suffering from unbearable nausea as a result of her pregnancy, she was struggling to eat. Alfredo whipped up his now-famous sauce for her and she made it a regular meal from then on. I can agree with Ines that alfredo does certainly seem to have some healing properties.
If you’re looking to try the original alfredo sauce, you can still get a taste of it in Italy. While di Lelio sold his original restaurant, Alfredo alla Scrofa, in 1943, it is still open under its original name and reportedly continues to serve the dish.
However, Alfredo and his son Armando opened another restaurant just a few years later. This one they named Il Vero Alfredo, meaning The True Alfredo. It remains open and managed by Alfredo’s grandsons.
So what’s the big deal about alfredo sauce? In reality, many Italians might tell you there’s nothing special about it since it’s really rarely served in Italy, outside of Alfredo alla Scrofa and Il Vero Alfredo. Many Americans adore the sauce made popular by its namesake. A rich creamy concoction consisting primarily of butter, cream, and parmesan cheese, the silky sauce coats noodles beautifully.
Alfredo Sauce Ingredients
- Garlic– be sure to crush the cloves entirely so that they incorporate well in the sauce.
- Butter– use unsalted butter in this recipe. The parmesan cheese will provide plenty of salty flavor.
- Heavy cream– using heavy cream will ensure that your sauce is as silky as it should be.
- Light cream– ensure that you grab light cream and not half-and-half. Light cream has more fat which is crucial for a successful alfredo sauce.
- Parmesan cheese– whether you grate it or buy it already shredded, ensure that it is a fine shred. This will help with incorporating it into the sauce while cooking.
- Sea Salt– the texture on the sea salt should also be fine so that it dissolves more quickly.
- Pepper– any pepper that you have on hand will do. Of course, freshly ground is better, but your regular table pepper will do the trick, too.
How to Make Garlic Alfredo Sauce
- Place butter in a saucepan and allow it to melt.
- Add the garlic and saute briefly, stirring continuously.
- Whisk in the cream and shredded cheese.
- Once the cheese has melted and the sauce is silky smooth, add salt and pepper.
- Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator after it cools to room temperature.
How To Use Alfredo Sauce
Of course you can use this sauce on any pasta. Because of its creamy consistency, nearly any shape of pasta will hold onto the sauce from fettuccine and spaghetti to ziti or macaroni. It’s also fantastic for filled pastas like ravioli, tortellini, or manicotti. You can use it in a lasagna to add creaminess and more parmesan flavor
But don’t reserve it just for pasta! You can use alfredo sauce on nearly anything to elevate your meal from smothering your chicken or turkey with it to tossing it with veggies like broccoli and cauliflower. You can even use it in scalloped potatoes, over top of pierogies, or on pizza.
If you’re really looking to experiment with your alfredo sauce, you can also use it as a foundation for a soup, or for making creamed vegetables like spinach or corn.
Finally, while alfredo sauce can steal the show in many dishes, it can play a supporting role as well. Try dipping vegetables like fried zucchini blossoms, fried artichoke hearts, or onion rings in the creamy sauce. And if you want to take a hot sandwich like a burger, cheesesteak, or panini up a notch, you can spread some of this versatile sauce on those, too.
You can also use any of our 40+ ways to make jarred alfredo sauce better in this homemade version.
- Pesto- add a few tablespoons of pesto, to taste, to add some color and bright flavor.
- Crushed red pepper, Aleppo or cayenne- a few dashes of either (or both) of these will spice up your sauce.
- Basil- some minced basil leaves will freshen up the taste of your alfredo.
- Capers– include some capers in your alfredo for a briny, tangy twist.
- Veggies– My favorites are sun dried tomatoes and peas, but any veggies transforms this into a veggie-packed meal.
- Cajun Seasoning– Cajun alfredo is all the rage right now! Add 2-3 teaspoons of Cajun seasoning.
Store your homemade alfredo sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4-7 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
More Pasta Sauces
Easy Garlic Alfredo Sauce Recipe
- 4 cloves garlic crushed
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 cup light cream
- 1 1/2 cups Parmesan cheese finely shredded
- Fine sea salt and pepper
- Pasta of Choice cooked
- crushed red pepper optional
- Melt butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic. Sauté over medium heat until garlic starts to disintegrate (about 5 minutes). Continue to stir to cook evenly.
- Pour in cream and shredded Parmesan cheese. Whisk until blended and smooth, approximately 4 minutes.
- Add salt and pepper to taste, continue to whisk.
- Toss with cooked pasta.
- If you’ve tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was in the comments or star ratings!