Did Roman restaurateur Alfredo de Lelio make the first pasta Alfredo in 1914? That’s what the origin myth says, with a detour to 1920s Hollywood (mega–silent movie stars Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford were said to have brought a taste for fettuccine Alfredo back to the U.S.). In any event, the simple dish of fresh noodles sauced with cream, butter, and Parmesan is an enduring favorite, with a scores and scores of modern variations. Here’s the classic recipe, followed by 7 delicious variations.
1. Fettucine Alfredo
Cream, butter, Parmesan cheese, salt, and a decent amount of black pepper. A good Alfredo sauce is pure butterfat simplicity, highlighted perfectly by freshly cooked, al dente fettuccine. Make this when you’re in the mood for something both simple and indulgent. Get our Fettucine Alfredo recipe.
2. Chicken Alfredo with Zucchini Ribbons
A slightly more health-conscious take fettuccine Alfredo. A moderate amount of pasta mingles with fresh zucchini ribbons. Slices of skinless chicken breasts add protein, and the sauce—a flour-thickened mix of milk and evaporated skim—avoids the butterfat of the traditional creamy recipe. Parmesan, of course, adds flavor. Get our Chicken Alfredo with Zucchini Ribbons recipe.
3. Chicken and Broccoli Alfredo
If traditional fettuccine Alfredo is like a formal Italianate dining room, this recipe’s like eating off the coffee table in the family room. Kid-friendly penne or mostaccioli pasta is married to a sauce of cream, Parmesan, and Monterey Jack, with a veggie blend of broccoli and sweet red pepper. Get our Chicken and Broccoli Alfredo recipe.
4. Alfredo Pasta with Cajun Spiced Chicken
Chicken tenders rolled in Cajun spices and seared are the flavor heart of this twist on a classic. Ingeniously, the sauce avoids heavy cream by blending milk (2 percent is cool) and cream cheese. Get Table for Two’s Alfredo Pasta with Cajun Spiced Chicken recipe.
5. Spicy Cilantro Alfredo Pasta
Another twist on the Alfredo canon, this one inspired by a trip to Mexico. Good old al dente spaghetti is tossed with a sauce of light cream (a.k.a. half and half), skim milk, and a flour-and-butter thickening. Flavor shows up via fresh goat cheese and Parmesan, with chili powder, cilantro, a jalapeño, and (brace for it) super-spicy habanero peppers. Get The Realistic Nutritionist’s Spicy Cilantro Alfredo Pasta recipe.
6. Colorful Chicken Alfredo
“The sweet, crisp bell peppers add such a wonderful flavor to the chicken and creamy Alfredo sauce,” notes the Kevin & Amanda blog. “The color and taste really bring this dish to life! Pour over some funky farfalle pasta and top with a little fresh basil if you’ve got some—this dish is definitely pasta perfection!” We couldn’t agree more. Get Kevin & Amanda’s Colorful Chicken Alfredo recipe.
7. Spinach Alfredo with Chicken
This delicious weeknight recipe is part traditional, part out of the box. The sauce is a classic: butter, heavy cream, a touch of garlic, and a enough Parmesan cheese to take it to umami land. The nontraditional part: penne pasta, plus chicken breast and fresh spinach (cooked in bacon fat if you dare!). Get The Adventure of Kitchen Girl’s Spinach Alfredo with Chicken recipe.
8. Chicken Alfredo Casserole
Shell pasta or elbow macaroni are durable enough to stand up to this baked pasta recipe, handy for laidback dinner-party buffets or to tote to a potluck. Cooked, shredded chicken is the protein additive to make this a complete meal, chicken broth gives flavor and keeps the sauce from getting gluey. And the sauce itself, fans of quick and easy, comes from a jar, so no sweat. Get Free Recipe Network’s Chicken Alfredo Casserole recipe.