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Lemon Alfredo Recipe

Image for Lemon Alfredo Recipe Lemon Alfredo Recipe

When I walk down the Italian aisle at the supermarket I see rows and rows of pasta and pasta sauces. Of course, I get why you would buy pasta. It’s a pain to make!

But the jars of pasta sauce drive me a bit crazy. I get that people are crunched for time, but many Italian sauces are quick to make and can be made in basically the same amount of time it takes to boil the pasta!

Case in point: Alfredo sauce! It really just needs a few ingredients and a delicate hand. Some butter and cream is the base and the key is to make just enough to lightly coat the pasta. You don’t want any globs of sauce because of its richness.

Technically, you could use any pasta for this sauce, but wider pasta tends to work better with rich sauces like this so I recommend a fettuccine or linguine pasta.

Cook the pasta like you normally would, but make sure it’s al dente and has a little bite to it. Also, most importantly, reserve a cup of the pasta cooking water before you drain all the pasta. It might come in handy later in the sauce.

While the pasta cooks, the sauce can be made in a separate wide skillet. Start by melting the butter over medium heat and then adding in the garlic. Cook the garlic for a minute so it’s fragrant but doesn’t burn at all. Then add the cream and stir everything together.

Season the sauce with some lemon (zest and juice), a pinch of nutmeg, and salt and pepper. Turn the heat down to low and continue to cook the sauce so it thickens a bit.

When the pasta is done, add it to the sauce right away. The sauce should lightly cling to the pasta. If it’s really watery, just continue to toss it together in the skillet over the heat until it thickens a bit. If it’s really thick (more likely) then add some of the reserved pasta water to thin it out.

Season the finished pasta with salt and pepper and serve it garnished with parmesan cheese and fresh lemon zest.

Making pasta sauce doesn’t need to be complicated and this simple lemon alfredo sauce should be at the top of your homemade sauce list!

Lemon Alfredo Recipe Instructions

Lemon Alfredo Recipe

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Yield: Serves 4


  • 12 ounces fettuccine
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper
  • Grated Parmesan


  1. Cook pasta according to package. Be sure to cook it al dente so it has a little bite to it. Reserve about a cup of pasta water.
  2. In a large wide skillet, melt butter over medium heat. When melted add garlic and cook for one minute. Then add cream and stir together. Season with lemon zest, lemon juice, nutmeg, and salt and pepper. Turn heat down to low and continue to cook the sauce until it thickens a bit, 3-5 minutes.
  3. When pasta is done, transfer it straight from the water to the skillet and toss to combine with the sauce.
  4. If sauce is too loose, continue to cook until sauce thickens. If the sauce is too thick, add some of the reserved pasta water to loosen the sauce up.
  5. Taste the pasta and season with salt and pepper..
  6. Serve pasta alfredo immediately dusted heavily with parmesan and lemon zest.


This post was contributed by Macheesmo

Nick cooks a lot and posts his recipes and food related items. Besides Macheesmo, Nick also writes for and The Kitchn. Nick released his first cookbook, Love Your Leftovers, on April 2014.

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