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Fettuccine in an alfredo sauce on a white plate. Freshly grated parmesan on top and a fork with noodles twirled around.

Easy Pasta Alfredo Recipe (3 Ingredients!)

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5 from 2 reviews


200 grams dried pasta or 300 grams fresh

100 grams butter

70 grams parmesan cheese, finely grated (see notes)

2/3 cup pasta water

Optional extras 

1 teaspoon black pepper

Lemon zest to serve


  1. Cook your pasta in a pot of well salted boiling water. Reserve a cup of pasta water before draining.
  2. When the pasta has 5 minutes to go, start the sauce. Timing it so the pasta is done right when you need to add it to the sauce will be easier the second time. See notes.
  3. Melt the butter in a large fry pan that will fit all the pasta in it at the end over a medium heat.
  4. When sizzling add 1/3 cup pasta water and the pepper if using and whisk really vigorously. I like to shake the pan with my left hand and whisk with my right. A flat whisk is brilliant for this.
  5. Let it gently bubble away for 1 - 2 minutes, whisking every so often. It shouldn't be boiling, just a gentle simmer so adjust heat as you need.
  6. Add your cooked pasta in with another 1/3 cup pasta water and toss well. Let it gently bubble for 30 seconds.
  7. Turn the heat down to lowest and add the grated parmesan cheese in an even layer on top of the pasta and leave it alone.
  8. Let it gently melt on top of the pasta for 1 - 2 minutes.
  9. With tongs, swirl the pasta around and around really quickly (watch the video below!) until you get a well emulsified sauce that clings to the pasta. It doesn't take long.
  10. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  11. Serve straight away and top with more parmesan if you wish and some lemon zest is a great addition.


PARMESAN: The parmesan needs to be freshly grated as fine as possible. A microplane or star side of a box grater is great. My preferred way is to cut into cubes then blend in a smoothie maker, it grinds it into a chunky powder which I find is perfect for melting into a sauce. 

SEASONING: The amount you need to season will depend a lot on what butter you use and how much salt you add to your pasta water. I like to add 1 teaspoon of pepper to the butter and add a couple of big pinches of sea salt at the end.

TIMING: I've made this dish enough times to know exactly when to start the sauce so I can transfer the cooked pasta straight from the water into the dish. It takes some practice so feel free to cook the pasta first, drain it then start the sauce. You can add a knob of butter into the drained pasta to stop it sticking and overcooking.

ADDITIONS: I am a black pepper fiend so I add a teaspoon of black pepper in when melting the butter. I also like to top with lemon zest to brighten it up.

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Category: Vegetarian
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Italian