‘A guide to an oh-so-creamy and silky-smooth staple’ is all I can say about this Chicken Alfredo recipe. Created in Rome, Italy in the 19th century, the very first recipe for Chicken Alfredo was constructed by a restaurant owner, Alfredo di Lelio, who had his creation named after himself.
Now, Chicken Alfredo has become a surprisingly quick meal that can be made one-pot. Simple ingredients, simple processing; You’ll no longer be pulling your hair out trying to feed a crowd that fills up your entire backyard.
What is Alfredo sauce?
Alfredo sauce is a creamy, silky sauce with three main ingredients: chicken broth, heavy cream and Parmesan cheese. Butter is used quite frequently, along with many other additions. This is totally no surprise since Chicken Alfredo has recently come viral worldwide with countless adaptations.
I myself had a great time with this dish. Honestly. To the point that I slapped a bookmark on the recipe. Not long after that, I figured out the tasty sauce is easy peasy cheesy to make! So why keep longing for it if I can make one myself? All I had to do was make a quick roux of the sauce, the pasta and the chicken— all done.
Enough words, here’s some note that I left for myself.
Okay, maybe I lied, it’s for you guys. (｀▽´)
“How can I make the Alfredo sauce better for me”?
So chances are that you might have, at least once, been through that watery pool of sauce on the bottom of your pasta bowl. I know. Yucky!
Here’s how I figured this thing out.
- For a silky but not gluggy sauce: If you cook pasta together with the sauce, it’s important to add the parmesan cheese only a minute before you remove the whole pot from heat. When emulsified with pasta too soon, it’s likely that the parmesan cheese will make the liquid thicker (because of fat and starch coming together), thus the pasta cooks unevenly. That said, you should cook the pasta to al dente in a combination of milk and chicken broth only.
- Make sure to use freshly grated Parmesan cheese if possible: It will ensure you a much better cheese-melting through the sauce, compared to the powdered one – that is if you don’t want your sauce to taste so starchy. Parmesan is so delicious, don’t accidentally make it a dud in such a lovely dish.
- Make sure your dietary requirements are met: If you need alternatives for heavy cream, there are lots of options. Either thickened cream, light cream or evaporated milk can make up for the absence of heavy cream. The good news is, by replacing heavy cream, the total calories and fat content of the dish will also decrease by tens (and possibly increase the sauce’s thickness— so please watch out). At the end of the day, it’s important to stick to your dietary requirement. By doing so, you can make good decisions on which ingredient to consume/ditch.
What pasta should you use?
I’d say fettuccini. Definitely. It has to be fettuccini to me, everytime.
But that’s just me. You really don’t have to be a martinet about choosing pasta for your own meal. Fettuccini has long been emblematic when it comes to Chicken Alfredo. But as long as your pasta is capable of being submerged and stirred easily in the cooking liquid, then it’s the pasta of choice for you— no matter if it’s a home-made or a high-end dried one.
You might want to take a peek at these simple swaps and check them out at stores:
- Angel hair
What goes well with Chicken Alfredo?
Know what’s the unsophisticated side/toppings for such rich dish like Chicken Alfredo? Yeah, I understand that the final product looks a bit queasy to some people, but it’s easy. You stir in some hefty heaps of spinach or so and then it looks just as mouth-watering as it’s supposed to be.
To enhance the savory and hearty meat-like taste of mushrooms (that will make your mouth water), you can also stir some of them or extra veg into the Alfredo sauce while cooking. For those who can still cope with more grease, I’d gladly serve it with lovely panko crumbs toasted in butter and call it a perfectly alluring topping.
And of course, generous sprinkles of parsley should not be left out either.
Chicken Alfredo recipe
- 2 cups boneless skinless chicken breasts sliced into strips.
- 2 cups chicken broth
- Salt and pepper to season
- 2 tbsp olive oil divided into 2 equal parts
- 1 yellow onion diced
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- 1 cup heavy cream
- Extra salt and pepper to taste
- 8 oz dry pasta, penne or fettuccini
- 1 1/2 cups freshly grated parmesan cheese
- Fresh chopped parsley to garnish
Cook the chicken:
- Season the chicken breast strips with salt and pepper.
- Sear the chicken in 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat until they’re golden brown on all sides. Remove the chicken from pot and set aside.
Make the sauce & pasta:
- Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil in the same pot, then sauté onion and garlic for 2 minutes. Add in water, reduce the heat to half and stir for 5 minutes.
- Continue to pour in the chicken broth and 1 cup of heavy cream to the pot, season the mixture with salt and pepper, then bring them to a boil.
- Add the pasta and bring it to a simmer for an extra 15 minutes (until the pasta is al dente).
- Stir in the parmesan cheese to the pot and stir so it coalesces into the mixture. Remove the pot from heat.
- Serve: Stir the chicken strips through the pasta. Garnish with fresh parsley and pepper if desired.
- You can either dice the chicken first and bring them to sear, or cook the chicken breasts in whole piece then slice them up after everything else is done.
- You can use thickened cream, light cream or evaporated milk as a substitute for heavy creamy if desired. Increase the amount for these if your sauce is too thick.
- Please be noted that in the beginning, the sauce is always very runny and watery, but it will thicken bit by bit during the simmering time. Plus, it also evaporates quickly after being removed from heat, so for best results: you should have your Chicken Alfredo served immediately.