I don’t know about you, but this rich and creamy and oh-so-decadent pasta is pretty much the ultimate comfort food in my book. It has long been a favorite dish of mine, and one that I always looked forward to ordering out at some of my favorite Italian restaurants on special occasions. But I made the mistake of peeking at the nutrition facts for fettuccine alfredo a few years ago. And after seeing just how much (hint: so much) extra butter and heavy cream restaurants usually toss into this dish, I felt like it was probably time to swear it off for good.
But let’s be real — a girl needs her favorite fettuccine alfredo every now an then.
So I set to work a few years ago experimenting and tweaking with ways to lighten up this classic dish. I stuck with the traditional ingredients (no cauliflower sauce here), although I completely nixed the heavy cream in place of low-fat milk with a roux. And lo and behold, it actually worked!!! Turns out you can have rich and creamy and oh-so-decadent fettuccine alfredo made at home — bonus, in just 20 minutes! — with this lightened-up easy recipe. And I’m obsessed with it.
And today I thought I would bump it back to the top of the blog to re-share it with those of you who might have missed it and need some healthier fettuccine alfredo in your lives. :) I went ahead and updated the pictures from the original post that I shared about 3 years ago, but the recipe is the same and just as good as ever. So put on some water to boil, and let’s make some pasta!
Skinny Fettuccine Alfredo Recipe | 1-Minute Video
This recipe, of course, centers around its two namesake ingredients — fettuccine and alfredo sauce.
You’re welcome to use any kind of pasta you’d like for this recipe — traditional semolina, whole-wheat pasta, gluten-free pasta (if so, check out my gluten-free alfredo sauce recipe), totally up to you! My one tip as always is just to be sure that you generously salt the water before adding the pasta. This is your one opportunity to kick up the flavor in the actual pasta itself, so don’t skimp!
But the sauce — this magical sauce — is the rockstar of the recipe. As I said, no heavy cream or cream cheese is used in this recipe. All you need are:
olive oil (a healthier fat, or you’re welcome to use butter for the flavor)
fresh garlic (a must!!)
flour (to thicken)
chicken broth (more flavorful than milk; you can also sub in veggie stock)
low-fat milk (you can use any milk, even soy)
Parmesan cheese (if you freshly grate it, it will be more flavorful)
Both the sauce and pasta cook quickly. So when you’re ready, drain your pasta and then add in the alfredo sauce.
Then toss them together until everything is nice and creamy and evenly coated.
Then a delicious pan of fettuccine alfredo is yours to enjoy! You’re welcome to just serve it plain…
…or you can top it with a little extra Parmesan, some fresh parsley or basil, or whatever sounds good. :)
But the best news? As opposed to the fettuccine alfredo recipe from Olive Garden, which clocks in at a whopping 1220 calories a serving, one serving of this alfredo sauce clocks in at 141 calories, and when combined with the fettuccine it is 450 calories a serving. Not too shabby for a thick and creamy pasta. Perfect when served with a light salad like this one.
Meanwhile, heat olive oil (or melt butter) in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and saute one minute, stirring occasionally, until fragrant. Sprinkle with flour, and stir to combine. Saute for an additional minute to cook the flour, stirring occasionally.
Slowly add chicken broth, whisking to combine until smooth. Whisk in milk, and bring the mixture to a simmer. Let cook for an additional minute until thickened, then stir in Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper until the cheese melted. Reduce heat to medium-low until pasta is cooked.
Drain pasta, then immediately add pasta to the saute pan with alfredo sauce. Toss to combine. Serve topped with chopped fresh parsley if desired.
This is our go to recipe for Alfredo sauce!! But, the last step. The one where the milk is poured and you let it simmer for an additional minute before you put in the cheese..,.it needs to simmer for a good 15-20 minutes before it gets thick. At least with me….
Thanks for the tip about letting the sauce simmer longer. Making it as I type this :)
Loved!! Tasted like the real thing and was very filling!
I have prepared this several times and it’s always a hit! Easy to make and so good!
Absolutely delicious! And was so easy to make. I used whole grain pasta and fat free milk.
What a wonderful recipe! My parents and I loved it. I served I will be using this recipe for all of my Alfredo needs moving forward!
WOW. It’s Genius. The flavor, the texture…this recipe was nothing short of Amazing! I paired it with my first go at homemade fettuccini and the resulting dinner, had my family blown away. Can’t tolerate “full-tilt” original fettuccine alfredo on every level, but don’t miss it one bit after trying this. My son just ordered it last week and agreed that this version was waaaay better! Thank you for the fantastic recipe!
I made this and was delightfully shocked at how simple and delicious it was – thanks
So easy! The flavor is so good you will never now its a lighter version!!!!
I regret trying to make this as a large batch for lunches this week. The sauce was ridiculously watery. I even added more Parmesan and flour to get a hint of thickness to it but it never got any better. I said screw it, threw on top of the noodles, broccoli, and chicken and hoped for the best. Wasn’t any better reheated, no thickness, just watery milk. I guess this is why I never like to follow instructions, it never comes out like expected.
You need to simmer like 20 mins not one for this recipe or it will be thin.
Absolutely delicious ?!
Way too salty, so next time I won’t add the extra salt and perhaps dilute my stock a bit. Looking forward to trying again.
I made this with 2 cups milk (actually 1 cup 2% and 1 cup of Ripple) because we didn’t have any chicken stock. Added a little bit of my own seasoning to make up for missing that chicken flavor. It turned out SO good!! My husband is not a pasta eater but he RAVED about it and couldn’t stop eating!
Hi! What can I use instead of chicken broth? Thanks!
This was really really good. I made the sauce ahead of time and froze it for a quick meal later. I added shrimp (sauteed in a small amount of butter first), added a can of drained canned mushrooms and pre-cooked penne pasta. My husband and I both loved it. Quick meal! Will definitely be making again.
I have used this recipe and shared it for years… It is so good! My son just sent me a picture of his shrimp and chicken Alfredo….He asked for the recipe and made it himself. :)
Great light alfredo recipe! We used it with our homemade butternut papardelle tonight, and it was perfect.
Thanks for another wonderful recipe!
Wonderful! My picky kids devoured it. I always save some pasta water, and add it in a few tablespoons at a time to thin/smooth out the sauce. It’s a keeper!
WOW! Guess who won’t be buying jarred sauce anymore? :)
Loved this. I was looking for a lowfat Alfredo option and this is perfect! It will be my go-to from now on.
It was just OK….made it as written but when i make it again I will use all milk and no chicken broth, it adds nothing and it seem less rich tast8ng. May just go back a a medium white sauce with Parmesan cheese…
Best recipe ever!!! I don’t love cooking but I enjoy making this! It’s simple and just perfect. 10 stars!!!!
I’ve made this several times and it’s always great.
Never will I buy jars of Alfredo again. So easy to make and much healthier. Thank you for sharing this recipe.
I subbed skim milk-used vegetable broth and added some nutritional yeast inaddition to the parmesan. I was amazed how good this tasted and the think consistency.