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.
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.
- Quick Glance
- 25 M
- 35 M
- Serves 4
Bring a large pot of generously salted water to boil. Cook the pasta until al dente.
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.
SHOP THE LOOK
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.
I could celebrate citrus every night of the week with this lemony fettuccine Alfredo dish. Whether on its own or paired with a protein, we couldn't stop eating this pasta. I didn't make my own pasta, but that would’ve elevated the dish even more. This is one of those dishes I'd order at a restaurant and fear that I couldn't replicate at home, but much to my delight it was quite simple and now I'll make it every day. Or every other day. At least once a week.
I was skeptical of adding lemon rind matchsticks directly into the alredo sauce, but have no fear, as long as you avoid the white pith and only use the bright yellow rind the flavors remain delightfully aromatic and not bitter. The lemon reduced beautifully in the white wine to form a sweet syrup. The sauce was so simple to make but packed so much flavor. The dance of the bright lemon, salty Parmesan cheese, and fresh cracked pepper was somehow rich and light at the same time.
We prepared a quick sauté of garlic shrimp and an Italian parley garnish with this pasta. The dish can absolutely stand alone or provide a perfect base for the addition of nearly any protein or veg. I love that it can be made with ingredients most people probably have on hand.
After my pasta was cooked to al dente, I tossed it in a bit of olive oil to prevent it from sticking while I finished my sauce. I finished the dish with a drizzle of olive oil and highly recommend doing that.