Lemony Fettuccine Alfredo

This lemony fettuccine alfredo from renowned Southern cookbook author Nathalie Dupree is a slight twist on the classic made with fresh pasta, white wine, cream, and Parmesan. Fast and easy enough to make on a weeknight yet impressive enough for company.

A patterned bowl filled with lemony fettuccine alfredo on a white and gold plate with a glass of water and dish of Parmesan on the side.

When you discover how easy it is to make fettuccine alfredo from scratch, you’ll forever swear off that gloppy white sauce from a jar. This luxuriously creamy and lemony version, made with items you may already have on hand including white wine, lemon, and Parmesan, is impressive enough for company yet completely doable on a weeknight. The citrus perfectly detracts from and complements the richness of the cream sauce.–Angie Zoobkoff

Why isn't my alfredo sauce perfect?

Notice how we told you to reserve some pasta water in the instructions below? There’s a reason for that—the warm, ultra-starchy water loosens up sauces without diluting it too much and also helps it adhere to the noodles. If you’re finding that your sauce is gritty or lumpy, you need to just keep stirring. A whisk works well here, adding a bit of warm pasta water at a time and whisking the heck out of that sauce.

Fettuccine Alfredo

  • Quick Glance
  • (2)
  • 25 M
  • 35 M
  • Serves 4
5/5 - 2 reviews
Print RecipeBuy the Nathalie Dupree’s Favorite Stories and Recipes cookbook

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Bring a large pot of generously salted water to boil. Cook the pasta until al dente.

Meanwhile, using a knife, vegetable peeler, or grater, remove the zest from the lemon, avoiding any underlying white pith. If you used a knife or peeler, slice the peel into very thin strips. Juice the lemon, strain, and reserve.

In a large nonreactive saucepan over high heat, combine the lemon zest with the wine and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-high and simmer until reduced to 1/4 cup, 10 to 15 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat, pour in about 1/4 cup of the cream, and stir. Then pour in the remaining cream and stir to combine.

Return to high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and gently simmer until thickened and reduced slightly, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.

When the pasta is cooked to the desired doneness, reserve 3/4 cup of pasta water and then drain the pasta.

Return the pot to stove. Pour in the cream sauce, butter, and lemon juice, stir, and then add the drained pasta and a few tablespoons of cooking water. Immediately toss and add the cheese in 3 or 4 additions, tossing each to meld with sauce. Add more cooking water, if necessary, to make a smooth sauce that evenly coats the pasta.

Ladle the pasta onto plates and, if desired, drizzle each portion with olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Originally published December 11, 2019.

Print RecipeBuy the Nathalie Dupree’s Favorite Stories and Recipes cookbook

Want it? Click it.


    Recipe Testers' Reviews

    We loved this fettucinne Alfredo. It was creamy and delicious with an undertone of citrus. I thought before making it that it might be too lemon heavy, but the cream and cheese balanced it out enough that the lemon flavor was more subtle than I expected.

    Next time I think I’ll use a Microplane on the lemon as the cooked matchsticks of lemon peel still seemed a bit large when taken in with a bite of pasta.

    I used a crisp, medium-bodied Pecorino wine that is a favorite of mine and drank more alongside the pasta. The wine (Saladini Pilastri Offida Pecorino 2015) also has some citrus-y notes, which was a good match for this lemony fettuccine Alfredo dish. The rest of the meal included toasted Pugilese bread, baked chicken breasts, and roasted squash and broccolini.

    This fettuccine Alfredo was really delicious. I love the technique of cooking the lemon peel in wine and cream, it created the most wonderfully vibrant lemon flavor and a little texture with the softened rind. It was a simple, impressive pasta that one could easily throw together with pantry ingredients, and it tastes like summer.

    I felt like this was more of a side dish. I think this would really pair well with a piece of grilled fish or some seared chicken thighs. It made 4 very generous servings.


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    1. We LOVED this recipe! It was lighter than what I thought it would be initially. I did not have fettuccine at home, so I substituted vermicelli, but it came together very nicely! I served it with lightly blackened scallops and asparagus. The light lemon in the sauced played well against the scallops. This recipe is wonderful!

    2. When I received yesterday’s newsletter with the Lemony Fettuccine Alfredo recipe I decided to make it for dinner. I had everything but the fettuccine so it meant only the quickest of trips to the store.

      My husband is not a fan of pasta generally, but absolutely loved this. The photo doesn’t do it justice but I didn’t want to fuss with it because we were hungry! The hint of lemon reminds me of a lemon pasta I had in Rome long ago and have been trying to replicate ever since. This comes closest, and I think the wine/zest is the missing link! I will be making this again, though upping the amount of sauce.

      Many thanks for this wonderful sauce!

      1. Thanks, Sheila! We’re delighted you and your husband enjoyed it so much and that you were able to replicate such a special food memory with it.

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