Recipe Review

Lidia Bastianich’s Trick for Better Fettuccine Alfredo Might Surprise You

published Feb 15, 2022
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Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk; Headshot: Getty Images/ Nicholas Hunt / Staff

There are a few names that repeatedly come up when discussing who shaped American cooking to what it is today. Lidia Bastianich is high on that list, heralded for being the godmother of Italian cuisine. Lidia emigrated to the States as a child, but credits her Italian roots for influencing her cooking. She’s penned over 15 cookbooks and has won a staggering number of awards, making her an obvious choice for a showdown contender.

Lidia seemed like a particularly good pick for this week’s topic: Alfredo sauce. She adds heavy cream to her recipe, which gets gently infused with sage leaves. While not traditional, butter and sage is such a lovely combination, and if Lidia says it works, well, I had to try it for myself. 

Get the recipe: Lidia’s Fettuccine Alfredo

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk; Headshot: Getty Images/ Nicholas Hunt / Staff

How to Make Lidia Bastianich’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 according to package instructions until al dente.

Meanwhile, start the sauce. In a large skillet, add the heavy cream, 1 cup of pasta water, butter, sage, and half of the cheese over medium heat. Cook, stirring until the butter is melted and the sauce is simmering, 1 to 2 minutes. 

Use tongs to add the fettuccine directly to the sauce and season with salt. Continue to simmer the sauce, using the tongs to continuously toss until the sauce coats the pasta, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the remaining cheese, tossing to combine. 

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

My Honest Review of Lidia Bastianich’s Fettuccine Alfredo

I love the flavor of sage; it adds such a rich earthiness to a variety of dishes, and it makes a great addition to compound butter and marinades. I also like frying the leaves in olive oil for a crispy snack. 

That said, Lidia’s Alfredo is really heavy on the sage (to the point that it’s distracting, even for someone like me who appreciates the flavor). The idea with this recipe is that the sage leaves will gently infuse the heavy cream — but despite following the recipe exactly, the flavor of the sage was way more pronounced than I expected it would be. The Alfredo was fine otherwise, but I also found the pasta-to-sauce ratio a bit off: too much sauce and not enough pasta. I prefer my Alfredo saucy, but not wet.

Overall, I was disappointed by this recipe for the sole fact that Lidia is such a huge name in Italian American cooking. While it wasn’t the Alfredo sauce recipe for me, I think if you’re a massive sage lover it could be enjoyable. 

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

  1. Cut down on the sage: The recipe calls for 10 sage leaves which was way too intense, but I think you’d capture the essence of sage with just 5 leaves. 
  2. More pasta, less sauce: In order to combat the uneven pasta-to-sauce ratio, you could add 18 ounces of pasta to the water to help soak some of it up. The dish already serves 6, so with more pasta you’ll be closer to 8 servings. 

Rating: 7/10

Have you tried Lidia’s fettuccine Alfredo? Let us know in the comments below!