Recipe Review

I Tried Giada’s Secret-Ingredient Alfredo Sauce (and Honestly, I Can’t Stop Eating It)

published Feb 16, 2022
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Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk; Headshot: Stewart Cook / Shutterstock

When I think of Giada, I immediately think of her enthusiastic pronunciation of Italian recipes. I can just hear her singing the praises of how good her fettuccine Alfredo is. But when I first looked at her recipe, I wasn’t so sure. I balked at how much heavy cream (2 1/2 cups) and butter (12 tablespoons) was used. Sure, the recipe is meant to serve a crowd, but I wondered if that much dairy was really necessary.

With that said, I was intrigued by the rest of Giada’s sauce ingredients. I assumed her use of lemon zest, nutmeg, and white pepper was a nod to the Roman roots of Alfredo, and I was curious if this Italian-American approach really worked. Plus, her recipe has a 4.5 star rating from more than 600 reviews. Here’s what happened when I gave it a go.

Get the recipe: Giada de Laurentiis’ Fettuccine Alfredo

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk; Headshot: Stewart Cook / Shutterstock

How to Make Giada’s Fettuccine Alfredo

You’ll start by bringing a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Once the water begins to boil, add the fettuccine and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, about 4 minutes. Drain the pasta in a colander. 

Add 2 cups of the heavy cream and lemon juice to a large skillet over medium heat and stir to combine. Next, you’ll add the butter and cook until just melted, stirring occasionally. Remove the sauce from the heat and add the fettuccine, using tongs to toss until combined. Add the remaining 1/2 cup of heavy cream, Parmesan, lemon zest, nutmeg, salt, and white pepper and toss with tongs until the sauce has coated the pasta, about 1 minute.  

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

My Honest Review of Giada’s Fettuccine Alfredo

Between the 1/2 cup of lemon juice and lemon zest, the first flavor that hits your mouth with Giada’s Alfredo is lemon (in all caps). While the intensity is surprising at first, it’s not a bad thing. Because the sauce is so dairy-heavy, the acidity really cuts through, presenting a seemingly lighter Alfredo which really works. As you continue eating, the flavor mellows.

While this didn’t feel traditional flavor-wise, my family and I found it to be incredibly delicious. I will say the nutmeg and white pepper got lost in the sauce, but because the recipe didn’t specify the amount, I might not have used enough to make a difference. I haven’t made many Giada recipes, but if they’re all this good, then I’m a convert. 

As a note, this recipe uses a whopping 18 ounces of pasta and says it serves 6. Because Alfredo sauce is so heavy, I think you could easily cut it down to fit your family’s needs. 

If You’re Making Giada’s Fettuccine Alfredo, a Few Tips

  1. Be generous: The recipe calls for salt, nutmeg, and white pepper to taste. While you don’t want to use a heavy hand, keep in mind that there’s so much sauce that you can be a little more generous than usual. Otherwise, those flavors won’t come through. 
  2. Lighten up on the lemon: While I really did love the lemon flavor in the sauce, to make an Alfredo that tastes a bit more expected, you could use 1/4 cup and be just fine.

Rating: 9/10