This fettuccine Alfredo recipe is perfect for any and all occasions, from busy weeknights to romantic dinners. It's simple, elegant, and totally delicious.
Traditional fettuccine Alfredo contains 5 basic ingredients: pasta, butter, Parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper. If you’ve been reading the blog for a while, you’ve probably guessed that this fettuccine Alfredo recipe isn’t totally traditional. You’re right!
See, I love creamy pasta, but when I order it at restaurants, it’s almost always too rich for me to enjoy for more than a few bites. Earlier this winter, I was craving comfort food, and I got the idea to make a fettuccine Alfredo recipe that would let me have my cake and eat it too. It would be every bit as creamy and comforting as the classic pasta, but also light enough for me to savor an entire bowlful and still go back for seconds.
Since that day, we’ve had this fettuccine Alfredo recipe on repeat in our house. The sauce is rich and nutty, and its creamy texture is irresistible over tangles of fresh pasta. Made with just 10 pantry ingredients, it’s quick and easy to make. As a result, we’ve eaten it time and time again – on busy weeknights, snowy Saturdays, and even date nights in. I hope you find a place for it in your regular rotation too!
A Lightened-Up Fettuccine Alfredo Recipe
To make a lightened up fettuccine Alfredo recipe that would taste just as good as the traditional pasta, I used these key ingredients:
- Cauliflower – I’ve turned to cauliflower time and time again to make lighter versions of creamy classics, and it works wonders here. Boiled and blended with the other ingredients, it makes an Alfredo sauce that’s just as delicious as – but so much lighter than – the traditional version.
- Dijon mustard, lemon juice, and garlic – They add bright, tangy depth of flavor to the creamy sauce.
- Parmesan cheese and butter – They’re classic fettuccine Alfredo ingredients for a reason! Parmesan adds nutty umami flavor and thickens the sauce, while the butter makes it silky smooth.
- Extra-virgin olive oil – Because I use just a small amount of butter in this recipe, I add olive oil for extra richness. I love its robust flavor here!
- Pasta water – In traditional fettuccine Alfredo, hot, starchy pasta water is what turns the Parmesan and butter into a creamy sauce. It’s a key ingredient in my recipe too, helping the cauliflower blend into a luscious puree.
How to Make Fettuccine Alfredo
Making this recipe is quick and easy! Here’s what you need to do:
- First, cook the cauliflower. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the cauliflower. Cook until it’s tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Then, drain it and transfer it to a blender along with the Parmesan cheese, garlic, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, olive oil, butter, salt, and freshly ground black pepper.
- Next, cook the pasta until al dente in a large pot of salted water. Before you drain it, set aside 1 1/2 cups of the starchy pasta water.
- Then, make the sauce. Add 1 cup of the pasta water to the blender, and blend to form a smooth puree.
- Finally, toss it all together! Add the pasta to a large skillet or bowl and toss it with the sauce. If the sauce is too thick, add more pasta water, as needed, to reach your desired consistency.
Season with salt and pepper to taste, and enjoy!
What to Serve with Fettuccine Alfredo
Serve this fettuccine Alfredo recipe with minced Italian parsley and lots of freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Enjoy it as a meal on its own, or pair it with your favorite protein for a heartier dinner. It would also be fantastic with roasted veggies like Brussels sprouts or broccoli or a classic Caesar salad. Mop up any leftover sauce with homemade focaccia or good crusty bread, and don’t forget the wine to drink!
More Favorite Pasta Recipes
If you love this fettuccine Alfredo recipe, try one of these favorite pasta recipes next:
- Homemade Pasta
- Best Vegetarian Lasagna
- Easy Baked Ziti
- Homemade Mac and Cheese
- Roasted Vegetable Pasta
- Linguine with Lemon and Tomatoes
- 12 ounces cauliflower florets, (1 small cauliflower)
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese, more for serving
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves
- ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 16 ounces fettuccine pasta
- 1 to 1½ cups reserved pasta cooking water
- Chopped fresh parsley
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the cauliflower and boil until the cauliflower is fork tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and place the cauliflower in a blender. Add the Parmesan cheese, olive oil, garlic, mustard, butter, lemon juice, salt, and several grinds of pepper.
- Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water according to package directions or until al dente. Drain the pasta, reserving 1½ cups of the starchy pasta water. Add 1 cup of the pasta water to the blender and blend the sauce until creamy.
- Transfer the pasta to a large bowl or skillet. Add the sauce and toss to coat. If the sauce is too thick, add the remaining ½ cup pasta water and toss again to loosen the sauce and make it a bit creamier.
- Sprinkle with parsley and season to taste. Serve with grated cheese on the side.