We love cooking classic Italian dishes, and really any Italian-inspired dishes as well! In America, Fettuccine Alfredo is one of those dishes that has changed quite a bit from its origins. So, we wanted to take this delicious Italian dish back to its roots and make a no cream version that is, actually, just as creamy without the addition of cream! We know you will love this super easy creamy Fettuccine Alfredo with Mushrooms (no cream) recipe! This is one of our favorites and it takes less than 30 minutes to make!
Fettuccine Alfredo Origins
Alfredo should not be a hot mess of goopy, cream-based cheese sauce that is bound to make your insides regret the meal. No, it should be a cheesy, buttery, creamy plate of awesomeness that is surprisingly light.
The classic Italian fettuccine Alfredo dish, also referred to as fettuccine al burro (fettuccine with butter), is simply three ingredients: fettuccine pasta, butter, and parmigiano reggiano. The creamy Alfredo sauce is achieved by the emulsion of the butter, the parmigiano reggiano and a little of the starchy pasta water. The cheese and butter melt and become a deliciously light and creamy consistency.
The dish as it is known today as Fettuccine Alfredo is a dish of Roman origins. But as it gained popularity in America, the dish changed quite a bit. Olive Garden’s version of Fettuccine Alfredo is the poster child of what Americans think the dish should consist of today, which is generally a heavy cream based garlic sauce often topped with chicken breast or shrimp. If you are familiar with Italian cuisine, then you know that pasta and meats generally are served in two different courses. So the heavy cream Alfredo sauce recipes topped with chicken that are all over the internet are American creations that hardly reflect the classic dish. Although a homemade sauce that uses heavy cream and garlic is good from time to time, we are big fans of the lighter no cream classic version of this recipe.
So if you are looking for a lighter version of Fettuccine Alfredo, the classic pasta dish is for you!
Our Version of Fettuccine Alfredo with Mushrooms (No Cream)
Like the classic recipe, there are minimal ingredients in our version of this creamy mushroom Alfredo pasta as well. And if you decide to make the classic pasta recipe without mushrooms, there are only 3 ingredients! This is a meal that takes under 30 minutes to make so it is an easy weeknight dinner perfect for the entire family. We love the addition of the mushrooms for the texture and flavor, but you do you!
Now, we did add mushrooms, but that is because they are one of our favorite flavors year-round and there’s certainly no harm in that. As far as the mushrooms, we have made this with many types. We chose creminis (baby bella mushrooms) because they are so easy to find. However, if you can find porcini, chestnut, or oyster mushrooms, the flavor profile will be different but so delicious! Use what you like, but cremini mushrooms will be the mildest in flavor (not counting white mushrooms that have no taste at all!).
How to Achieve a Creamy Sauce without Cream
The trick to a creamy fettuccine alfredo is the technique in the sauce-making. The starchy pasta water and butter will emulsify and create the creaminess once the butter melts. You just need to agitate the pasta in the bowl, and it will come together nicely. Then, once the Parmesan cheese is added, it will thicken up again and then it is personal preference if you want your sauce to be thick or a bit thinner. Adding a bit more pasta water will thin out your sauce if desired. Continue to stir and flip the pasta until you achieve the right consistency for your preference. We prefer that our pasta is coated in the creamy mushroom sauce without being soupy.
The other key ingredient that screams for quality is Parmesan. A young (aged 12-24 months) parmigiano reggiano is perfect here. But generally, make sure you buy a high-quality authentic version of the “king of cheeses.”
To be labeled Parmigiano-Reggiano, the cheese must be made in a specific region of Italy, in a very specific way, and with very specific ingredients. If it is labeled simply “parmesan” it is likely not the authentic cheese. The real parmigiano reggiano is the best and will result in the creamy texture in this dish, so if you use some pre-grated, shelf stable version made somewhere in the US, be prepared for a less creamy texture and different result.
Bottom line, use the real parmigiano reggiano for a creamy pasta dish!
The flavor and texture will, of course, depend on your pasta. This is why we prefer using homemade egg noodles for this fettuccine Alfredo recipe. But the dish will be fantastic regardless.
One thing to note about homemade pasta is that it cooks much quicker than store bought dried pasta. We cook fresh fettuccine pasta for this dish in a large pot of salted boiling water for 90 seconds only.
For dried pasta from the grocery store, follow the package directions to cook to al dente (a slight bite) before adding your cooked pasta to the bowl with the butter.
We hope that you enjoy this creamy Fettuccine Alfredo with Mushrooms (No Cream) recipe! If you give it a try, leave us a 5 star rating and a comment below, or tag us on Instagram @cooking_with_wine!
Looking for more recipes like this? Check these out:
- Spaghetti Carbonara with Asparagus
- Spring Spaghetti Aglio Olio e Peperoncino with Blistered Tomatoes
- Creamy Pesto Pasta with Seared Scallops
- Summer Pasta (Pasta D’Estate)
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