Fettuccine Alfredo for One

January 15, 2019

Test Kitchen-Approved

Author Notes:

Contrary to popular belief, fettuccine Alfredo—the original from Rome, at least—isn't meant to have cream. It's just: fettuccine, butter, and cheese, all tossed together with the pasta's starchy cooking liquid to create a sauce that looks and tastes very close to heavy cream. At his restaurants in Italy, Alfredo di Lelio would do this tableside as a sort of ceremony for the guests. The ultimate ceremony of cooking and eating, as I see it.

Eric Kim

Food52 Review: Featured in: Why Fettuccine Alfredo Is the Best Solo Supper.The Editors

Serves: 1
Cook time: 20 min


  • 4 ounces fettuccine, preferably fresh (but dried is good, too)
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 small shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan, plus more to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
In This Recipe


  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil and salt generously. Cook the pasta according to package instructions until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water and drain pasta.
  2. In the same pot over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter, then sauté the shallot for about 1 to 2 minutes, just until translucent and no longer raw. Add 1/4 cup of the reserved cooking water, bring to a simmer, then stir in the butter, followed by the cheese, until both are fully incorporated.
  3. Add the pasta to the sauce and continue cooking, stirring constantly and incorporating more of the water as needed to coat the noodles sufficiently. (The trick here is to amalgamate the pasta, butter, cheese, and starchy water until it comes together into a creamy emulsion.)
  4. Plate, then finish with a final smattering of Parmesan and freshly ground pepper.

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Reviews (3) Questions (2)

3 Reviews

Amy January 30, 2019
this pasta was so good i shed tears
Author Comment
Eric K. January 30, 2019
coffeefoodwrite January 28, 2019
This looks delicious! I'm looking forward to trying it.....