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Basic Alfredo Sauce

(recipe, Kathleen Flinn)


Start cooking the pasta before you begin the sauce. Use cream, not milk. As an easy shortcut, toss chopped vegetables such as broccoli, asparagus, peas, artichokes, and the like into the pasta water to cook them briefly; frozen vegetables work well. This is also a great way to use up leftovers such as shredded chicken, cooked shrimp, grilled vegetables, and so on. Just toss them in near the end of cooking.


  1. 8 oz. cooked pasta
  2. 2 cups heavy cream (2 Tbsp. reserved)
  3. ½ tsp. salt
  4. ½ cup grated Parmesan
  5. 1 garlic clove, minced (optional)
  6. Freshly ground black pepper


  1. Prepare the pasta according to the package directions. Carefully reserve one cup of the pasta water to use in the sauce.
  2. Over medium-high heat, add all but 2 tablespoons of the cream to a sauté pan or skillet. When it bubbles, add the salt. Stir. When the sauce thickens enough to cover the back of a spoon or leaves a clean line in the bottom of the pan when you pull a spatula across it, add the pasta water. Cook over medium-high heat for about 3 minutes, until it bubbles again and the sauce thickens. Add the reserved 2 tablespoons of cream, heat through, and then add the cheese, garlic (if using), and a few cranks of pepper. Taste, and add more salt if needed.
  3. Add the cooked pasta and any additional ingredients, and stir well to coat. Serve immediately.